16-5. Various Conclusions
Satou here. I've always been bad at gambling ever since I was a child, maybe I just don't have a talent for it. I got invited to horse-racing and mahjong in my college days, but I still don't get their appeal even now. Perhaps you need the aptitude for it to enjoy gambling.
"Are you ready?"
I took up the magic spear made from Hihiirogane, Gae Bolg, to answer Heim-shi's query.
"Let us begin then."
We stand at the start lines in the center of the wide practice ground.
We're about 20 meter apart.
"O Magic Edge, dwell in my sword."
Red light from the magic edge comes up on Heim-shi's magic sword.
I've only noticed now that he has put Physical Reinforcement on himself in advance as his mana gauge has decreased.
"O Magic sword Heim carved from my name. Bring about raiding speed faster than wind to me--""
Looks like Heim-shi intends to use the [<<Acceleration Catapult>>] built in his magic sword right from the start.
I surrender the first strike to him and lower my magic spear--
Like a dropped frame, Heim-shi who had closed in right before me let out a lightning speed stab.
--Are you for real.
Looks like he had put himself in the Accelerated Catapult state beforehand.
I put my spear in front of me and flicked away the magic sword that drew a red trail.
Red sparks flew, and I saw Heim-shi's mouth moving at the opposite side.
The zero-distance flash dyed my view white.
Looks like he used a light magic with deferred invocation that had been chanted prior.
Without waiting for the instant it needed for my view to return back, Heim-shi slashed back from the direction where I flicked his magic sword away earlier to conclude this fight.
I traced that movement from the air vibrations, and blocked the attack by kicking the bottom end of my magic spear.
Intense metallic sounds from the clash between a sword and a spear resounded.
Fierce red light dyed over my whitened view.
Heim-shi tore the moment of silence with his shout.
The vibrations from the sole of his feet tell me about his charge timing.
I evaded while holding the speed down so it wouldn't become Ground Shrink.
My view that had instantly returned thanks to Light-intensity Adjustment skill showed that Heim-shi was fluttering in the air in a stabbing posture.
He twists his body in the air and pulls his sword back as if he's drawing a bow.
--Don't tell me.
Heim-shi collects his mana in his sword.
His stab that should have been out of range became a ball of red light that drew closer to me.
--Magic Edge Cannon.
Looks like he has acquired the Mystic Art that was once used by the top seat of Shiga Eight Swords, Julberg-shi.
To return the favor, I also shot a small Magic Edge Cannon out of the magic spear toward the approaching red light of Magic Edge Cannon that flew like a swallow, intercepting it.
I could hear Lady Karina and the others' cheers from beyond the roaring blast.
"After pulling through three surprise attacks, you even managed to block Magic Edge Cannon, my trump card, huh."
Heim-shi who had landed on the ground floated a manly smile.
He's probably using this chitchat to recover his mana and fix his breath.
"Monsters are more cunning in their surprise attacks you know. As for the Magic Edge Cannon, I was blessed with a good teacher who taught me about it."
Heim-shi took a glance at Liza when he heard that.
It's actually an elf teacher, not Liza, but since there's no need to amend him, I let the conversation continue.
"Show me the power of your magic spear. This time, I'll receive it all."
Heim-shi said a remark overflowing with sportsmanship.
Since He has [Counter] skill, it's dangerous for me to carelessly use a big move.
--Mainly in holding back kind of sense.
I lightly swing the spear and take a low stance.
"--Here I come."
I rushed forward with Flickering Movement and when I got to one third of the distance, I changed to maximum mode Flickering Movement that Liza and the others use.
And then I threw a thrust with the long spear from out of his range.
Heim-shi skilfully parried that with his great sword that should have been heavy and slow.
It's like he's wielding a rapier.
Looks like he had anticipated my Flickering Movement feint as all of my attacks, be it from right or left were all parried.
Even when I went around to his back and stabbed at it, he turned around and parried it.
As expected of number 2 of Shiga Eight Swords.
He might be even stronger than the top seat of Shiga Eight Swords, Julberg-shi.
I opened our distance right when Heim-shi and the spectators were fixing their breaths.
"I expected no less from the one whom Kishresgalza sisters referred to be stronger than them."
Heim-shi is looking for the timing to close in while measuring the gap.
"But you haven't gotten serious even now do you?"
--How'd he find out.
I'm even using water magic [Sweating] and composite magic [<<Fake Hard Fight>>] for this.
Ideally, I'd like this fight to be a draw, but he will likely find out if I do it carelessly.
On the other hand, winning too easily will lower the brand of Shiga Eight Sword, while losing too easily will put a stain on Liza and the others' honor and the title of Demon Lord Slayer--or even on Saga Empire's Hero Hayato's reputation.
It's quite a troublesome situation.
"Show me your true strength."
"Then allow me to respond to that with the Secret Arts that Hero Hayato instructed me."
Therefore, I plan to show the awesomeness of Demon Lord Slayer by pulverizing the practice ground with some awesome finishers while also constructing the narrative, "Heim-shi who could survive through that is awesome."
"Please don't die okay."
I clad magic spear Gae Bolg with Magic Edge after telling him my honest thought.
The spectators were surprised and yelled, "Earl Pendragon is using Magic Edge!"
Don't tell me, I had never used Magic Edge in public before this?
"Back at you, don't get too conceited and die on me."
I smile back at Heim-shi's words.
"Here it goes--<<Shining Blade>>"
I copied the light elemental finisher that Hero Hayato once showed.
Red shock waves released from Magic Spear Gae Bolg carved the practice ground with numerous line marks.
Originally they're in the form of slashes, but since I'm using a spear now, they look like rapid-fire beams this time.
Cloud of dust filled the practice ground.
The radar shows me Heim-shi's moves as he hides behind the dust.
I pull back my magic spear clad in Magic Edge to the limit to prepare for the next finisher.
Heim-shi tore the dust cloud apart and showed himself up while shouldering a red shining magic sword.
"<<Shining Strike Rush>>"
Two finishers clashed.
I shifted the hitting angle as to not break magic sword Heim-shi I made, most of my Shining Strike Rush's power dispersed in the air.
Heim-shi's finisher that looked like it could even sever a dragon's horn tore through the Shining Strike Rush afterwave, smashing the practice ground behind me.
As he shouted out loud, Heim-shi's magic sword clashed with my magic spear, red shining particles dyed the surroundings.
The ground where we step on have caved-in like in a manga.
The spectators around us sent out loud shouts of joy.
Good good, it's going nicely.
"Here I go, Heim-dono!"
"Come, Pendragon! Show me your everything!"
I ignore Heim-shi who said something that reeked of BL and let out the next finisher.
It was a finisher that was once used by Liza in the fight against Floor Master.
16 thrusts assaulted Heim-shi as he parried them all.
Swept away by the momentum, my magic spear got stuck in the ground.
His magic sword is clad in red light as he makes the same motion for the Dragonhorn Slasher.
This is probably the timing for Counter that he's been waiting for all along.
"Beyond Art. Magic Edge Explosion."
--I've also been waiting for this.
The red light that dwelt in the magic spear got sucked into the ground and Heim-shi who was just about to let out the Dragonhorn Slasher got swallowed in the explosion.
I used the art Liza once used to blast the [Floor Master] on the ground.
From the spectator's viewpoint, it would look like Heim-shi's finisher that couldn't have been avoided was prevented by an art that was no different than an explosion.
Heim-shi who was bloody all over charged in without caring about his defense.
No no, you're really gonna die you know?
My consciousness was robbed by my hand as I was cautious not to kill him.
However, his attack reached me in that moment.
His magic sword grazed my cheek, and engraved a wound.
The wound disappeared instantly by my Self-Healing skill, but it felt like I got to see the pride of Shiga Eight Swords, the guardian of the kingdom.
<TLN: If you're reading this novel at any other site than Sousetsuka.com you might be reading an unedited, uncorrected version of the novel.>
"Sir Pendragon, you have shown me your true strength."
Heim-shi who was about to die has already recovered enough to walk with the healing of magicians that were on standby at the practice ground.
Behind him, huge golems have been made to line up by earth magicians at the practice ground as Lady Karin and Shiga Eight Sword Miss Ryouna the [Mower] fight there.
Looks like they had agreed to have a fight when we were fighting.
And it seems Reilas-dono is going to fight Zena-san afterward.
Liza declined to have a match because, "Master has not given me his permission."
Since the level difference is too great, it would have ended one-sidedly so her judgment is proper.
"--It's my complete defeat."
"No, it's my lost. I only managed to block Heim-shi's last attack by luck."
There's no point in my effort to make the match close to no count if he says [Complete defeat].
Besides if I carelessly recognize his defeat, I might get forced to join Shiga Eight Swords.
"I think a draw is fine--"
First prince Soltrick who could read the mood offered a nice trade off.
"--Both of you were splendid. I will have your rewards delivered later. Keep striving to polish your superior skill for the sake of Shiga Kingdom."
Heim-shi and I gratefully accepted it like retainers would.
"Match end! The winner, Ryouna-dono!"
Oops, looks like Lady Karina had lost while we were talking.
Both of them are the type that fight by instinct, but Miss Ryouna who's more experienced in interpersonal combat seems to have the upper hand in tactics.
Lady Karina also often fought with Pochi and Tama, but since the practices were in assumption that she'd fight against monsters, she never had the chance of learning the in-depth of interpersonal combat.
"Relief squad! My shoulders and ribs are broken! Help me with the healing."
Miss Ryouna who was wounded all over called the knights specializing in healing.
"I couldn't win."
I hand over a cold wet towel to the dejected Lady Karina.
By the way, there's not even a scratch on Lady Karina who had Raka protecting her.
Apparently she lost because she got exploited by her opponent and fainted.
"Karina-sama, your opponent was a Shiga Eight Swords after all. It's only natural to lose."
Zena-san consoled Lady Karina.
"That's not an excuse desuwa. Zena-san, you have to win okay."
"It's alright. I'm sure Zena-sama will win if she fights calmly."
"Y-yes. I'll do my best."
Lady Karina and Liza cheer for Zena-san.
"--Is that allowed?"
"Yes, Master. When she was challenged, Zena-sama asked Reilas-dono if he didn't mind that she was maining magic, this is the answer to that."
The scene before us is that of Zena-san flying in mid-air as she dropped [Air Hammers] down in a one-sided battle.
At first, Reilas-shi counter attacked by shooting light magic, but since Zena-san completely blocked it with [<<Heavy Air Wall>>], he resorted to be in the defensive with his holy shield.
Additionally, Zena-san who was able to quickly cast her magic interrupted Reilas-shi when he tried to cast mid-level magic that could break through her Heavy Air Wall.
This match will have ended in an instant were Zena-san to use an advanced level wind magic, but it seems the kind Zena-san won't use it in fear of seriously injuring Reilas-shi.
『--Her altitude is decreasing.』
"It's true desuwa."
Just as Raka said, Zena-san's altitude has decreased.
It's difficult to control the [Fly] magic she's using, her control might have loosened after continuously firing attack magic.
I'd like to give her an instruction, but giving advices in the middle of a match is prohibited.
I look back to the ground from Liza's call.
Reilas-shi purges his heavy equipment and runs up to her at a tremendous speed.
He threw his holy shield below Zena-san and let out a finisher with the magic sword in his other hand.
Reilas-shi stacked the forces from Flickering Movement, jumping skills and upward slashing type of finisher to approach Zena-san in mid-air.
"■■■■ Wind Shield"
Zena-san used a quick-to-chant wind spell in a hurry.
Reilas-shi's magic sword cut up the wind shield.
"Elementary level magic won't--"
Someone muttered that.
But that's a misunderstanding.
Zena-san isn't trying to block Reilas-shi's finisher.
It's to push back Reilas-dono with the dregs from the Wind Shield and propel herself to move in the air.
--The storm released from the wind that surrounded her body beat Reilas-shi down toward the ground.
Reilas-shi's magic sword cuts off the storm, but then come Zena-san's insurance blow.
"....■■■ Fallen Hammer"
Zena-san's heavy wind burst apart Reilas-dono who had been thrown off balance, he hit the ground without affording to break the fall.
It wouldn't be strange for an ordinary person to die from it, but as expected of Shiga Eight Swords.
He swiftly springs up and jumps toward the holy shield nearby.
The moment his hand was about to reach the holy shield, his back was struck by Zena-san who had gained speed from gravity.
"■■■■ Air Hold!"
The Air Hold casted with shortened chant binds down Reilas-shi, his neck is then met with the short sword that Zena-san drew out.
"The winner! Zena Marientail!"
At the unexpected victory, the surrounding people let out an ear-splitting excited cheering.
"Splendidly done. Zena-dono."
"Thank you very much, Reilas-sama."
Zena-san replied Reilas-shi's praise while looking embarrassed and they exchanged handshakes in honor of the good fight.
The umpire didn't notice the fact that Reilas-shi's dominant had resisted Zena-san's Air Hold right right before the conclusion, and if the umpire didn't make a hasty conclusion, it was possible for him to counterattack Zena-san with the hand that was holding the magic sword.
However, he accepted the umpire's decision and didn't attempt to take a simultaneous hit.
No wonder he was entrusted to take care of that unmanageable third prince Sharlick.
A gentleman wearing butler attire ran up to the practice ground.
Looks like he's looking for someone.
Did anything happen?
When I was observing the situation, that gentleman ran up to one of the first prince's followers and whispered something into his ears.
"Royal Capital's Air Defense Corps--"
"What, are you sure about that?"
"--By your will."
I couldn't hear the important part due to the clamor, but then a pale faced follower noble ran up to me.
"Earl Pendragon, forgive me about this, but could you let me off the bet from the other day?"
"What's wrong? Did your gamble-hating wife put you on a short leash?"
When I was going to say 'I don't mind', another noble interrupted.
The follower noble's face became even paler.
Then another noble cut in.
He's sweating all over, wonder if he's feeling all right.
"I-I would also like to take off my bet with you sire. However, it would be rude to get off it just like that. Thus I will offer this heirloom sword as an apology."
"You too, what's happening here."
"Eyy, move out. I'm talking with Earl Pendragon now."
The sweating noble and the pale noble shoved the puzzled gentleman noble aside and edged up on me.
How do I say this, their faces look really serious it's scary.
"It will do no good to your reputation if we do this in such a place--"
When I suggested them to talk about it later at the salon, they got even more flustered.
"N-no, it's nothing important enough to warrant changing places."
"I-I beg of you, please accept this sword."
--Something's not right.
Thinking that, I tried searching the map.
Holy Mobile Armor.
Apparently, nobles who have obtained info about the discovery of Holy Mobile Armor are trying to take off their bets before it's announced.
I take note of the two nobles who make the offer.
These two's houses most likely have excellent information network.
"What are you guys hiding."
The puzzled looking first prince asked the two nobles.
It does make you doubt something when they're doing it so openly like this doesn't it.
『Satou-dono, a wyvern is approaching from west-southwest.』
"Thank you, Raka."
I said my thanks to Raka.
The one coming here is a wyvern from capital Air Defense Corps, so everything's fine.
Then a wyvern quickly came into the view, the first prince's follower nobles clamored.
They should have gotten used to wyverns if they live in the capital, but since the wyverns don't usually fly above the capital, maybe people who aren't really connected to the military don't know about them.
"So noisy, quiet down."
"Y-Your highness! That's!"
"Do not fret! Isn't that a wyvern of the capital's Air Defense Corps!"
The followers who got scolded by the prince regained their composure.
"Aaaaa, Earl Pendragon, I beseech you."
"P-please, for goodness's sake--"
The sweating noble and the pale noble entreated me as they were about to grab my clothes.
The other nobles seemed anxious to see them as they began to look at each others and exchanged words in whispers.
"Holy Mobile Armor! The Holy Mobile Armor has been found at the western Magic Sealing Ravine!"
A soldier who got off of the wyvern shouted.
"I see, so that's what happening--"
In contrast to the prince who got it, the sweating noble and the pale noble broke down in despair.
The other nobles also exchanged glances with pale faces.
The nobles' line of sights are gathered to me as if they're begging me.
Not sure what you want me to do by doing that.
I personally find no value in the things they bet, but I can't exactly say, "the bet doesn't count" either.
If I did that, troublesome people would come one after another to make unreasonable bets with me.
Now then, the smart thing to do here is to look for a middle ground.
I sure would love to have Arisa's advice in times like this.
※ Next update is planned for 8/6