11-23. To the Royal Capital (3)
Satou's here. There are things you can't fight against even though you know. During overtimes late at night, I had eaten snacks with high calories even though I knew they were no good.
"You'll lose instantly if you think I'm still what I used to be and let your guard down you know?"
"That is scary. Please don't be too hard on me."
"Fuhn, desuwa. I wonder how long can you keep looking calm?"
Raka is quiet today.
Looks like it's busy invoking physical reinforcement, spirit enhancement, and acceleration force artes in secret.
I set up my stance after making sure that Raka has finished casting the reinforcement magic.
--There's no start signal in a match between explorers.
Lady Karina who's approaching like she's crawling on the ground falls down in front of me--no, it only looks like she's fallen down.
She's begun spinning to do an ax kick before my eyes.
In most stories, this should be the time where I cross my arms to block the kick, but there's no point doing such consideration.
I shift half of my body, avoiding her heel.
--The heel that should've been evaded suddenly changes its direction diagonally mid-air.
Raka probably made a foothold in the air which allowed her to alter the kicking direction.
Even disregarding that, I think Lady Karina who could do such thing in that instant is amazing herself.
Tama is good at this kind of maneuver, so Lady Karina might've been taught by her.
I hit Lady Karina's foot in short range with palm strike.
While my palm is destroying many small shields that Raka's created, I parry another of Lady Karina's strike.
The peanut gallery cheer.
"Oh! He evaded that blow!"
"Rather, is that beauty-san's armor a magic item."
"Isn't that the same equipment as the ones 『Pendragon』 people have?"
"As expected of equipment belonging to the ones they call 『Woundless』!"
I can't spare any time to listen to their commentaries.
While using the foot that's touching the ground as the axis, Lady Karina unleashes a roundhouse kick with her other leg.
I evade that with a back step while being careful not to get out of the arena.
It seems she's judged that using only big moves won't hit me, she's changed her tactic to using combinations of small moves.
Lady Karina is attacking with shrewdness that's clearly different than the time when she was in Muno city, such as the flurry of jabs to distract me on the upper part while trying to trip my leg.
Looks like the result of the accumulated training she's done with the beastkin girls ever since she arrived in the labyrinth city is surfacing.
The ebb and flow of Lady Karina's and my's offenses and defenses continue.
Unfolding left and right as if we're dancing.
I handle Lady Karina mid-air triple kicks with my hand and counterattack her with a roundhouse kick.
Of course I've held back on the kick quite a bit but no one will doubt it since the speed is not inferior to Lady Karina's.
Lady Karina uses the force field created with Raka's power as a foothold and changes her orbit mid-air, avoiding my kick.
Her movement is already expert enough.
"Oy, how the heck did she evade that kick!"
"Shut it, concentrate on the goddess's fight!"
"Ah, too bad! Karina-sama! Fight!"
"Aah, mou. Stop fighting dangerously and finish it already!"
Lady Karina finally reveals her trump card while the spectators are giving their arbitrary explanation and encouragement in the background.
"Is that Magic Edge?"
"But, it's blue?"
In accordance to my crisis perception, I jump back to evade Lady Karina who's slashing down a blade made of blue light from the air.
It's a 30 cm long blade of light embodied from the light released by Raka's main body.
It was an unexpected attack, it probably would have scared me if the light was a bit longer.
However, it won't hit me with this distance.
Ah, Lady Karina, you shouldn't speak out that line.
The two layered trump card that was planned to take me by surprise was ruined by Lady Karina who shouted that out loud, believing she had won.
I twist my upper body to evade the light blade shot from Raka's main body.
The attack flies diagonally downward, so there's no one beyond the line of fire.
I was on guard when the light blade was passing through beside me, worrying whether it would explode, but it proved to be a needless worry.
The light blade pierces the ground, and disperses just like that.
Nevertheless Lady Karina hasn't given up, and continues to attack fiercely, but fatigue and impatience are floating on her face.
It seems she had put the stake on the attack just now, the blue light that's emitting from Raka's main body has clearly weakened too. Lady Karina is also running out of magic power.
Good grief, fighting Lady Karina whose breasts aren't swaying isn't fun, so let's put this to an end about now.
The peanut gallery are probably satisfied now anyway, and Lady Karina who has shown her trump card should have no regret too.
I have to think of a way to make it looks like I narrowly win after fiercely attacking her who can't evade.
--Arisa probably would scold me, "Don't let your guard down."
I strike with my left palm to break Lady Karina's posture.
My left palm destroy the weakened Raka's protection, and then pushes Lady Karina's shoulder--or how it should have been, Lady Karina who's become tired loses her strength and falls, accidentally avoiding my palm strike.
My nail slightly grazes her armor, but it's weak enough to not even scratches it.
I correct my missing attacks, and continue to corner Lady Karina.
I make her move to the verge of the arena.
The spectators hold their breath while watching Lady Karina being cornered.
I flick her guarding arms with multiple strikes, Lady Karina's body bends backward.
--Three more moves. I plan to lead Lady Karina to counterattack my attack, and then counter that to defeat her.
The peanut gallery become heated in the next moment.
The demons are dancing.
"W-what are those!"
"M-miracles do exist..."
The demonic breasts gain their freedom from Arisa's binding (curse), snatching my view and thought.
I've seen similar scene in the underground labyrinth, but this one is with proper clothes.
And yet, the volume difference is too great.
The gap between the rich and the poor is too cruel.
I, whose eyes have been robbed, cannot react to Lady Karina's kick that's coming from the blind spot.
Rejecting the crisis perception and space grasp complain, I freely chase after the track.
I could hear the voices of Arisa and Mia, and also Lady Karina maid group among the spectators' cheers.
The fated strike settled it, and the end of the match is decided with the off-arena rule.
"Haven't I said times and times again not to let your guard down."
"Mwu, you can't be careless okay. You can't okay? You can be flexible but carelessness is no good okay. Absolutely, okay?"
In the end, I got pressed by Arisa and Mia.
Or rather, Mia. When did you come back.
After apologizing to the two, "Sorry for making you worry", I call out Lady Karina who's sitting on the ground without moving.
"Are you alright, Karina-sama?"
『I hope you would not mind leaving her alone until she's sorted her feeling.』
"Is that so? Then I'll leave it to Raka and Erina to console her."
It goes without saying that I was the winner of the match.
Right before Lady Karina's kick hit my head, I moved my head away from her beautiful leg while my line of sight was still fixed to those.
And then, during the opportunity when the demonic breasts were hidden by her body, I slightly pushed her back, who was still in the air, to make her fly.
The fated strike might just be a light one, but I probably shouldn't say that Lady Karina is exaggerating.
The spectators probably saw her being overenthusiastic and went out of the arena.
"Does it hurt nodesu?"
Since Pochi and Tama have also come to cheer Karina up, I get up to leave the place.
I feel the sensation of my robe's sleeve being pulled, when I look down, there are the white fingers of Lady Karina, whose face is wet from bitter tears, gripping my robe.
"I'll show you that I'll win next time."
"Please don't be too hard on me at that time."
I have a favorable impression of her in this regard. I would have supported her as much as she likes if the target weren't me.
I give my consent to reply the tearful voice of Lady Karina, and then change with Pochi and Tama.
"Karina did well nodesu."
"Together, more, and more training~?"
"Of course desuwa!"
Leaving the three who are heating up, I confirm with Liza the departure preparation. Lulu and Nana have already boarded the airship, they're not on this place anymore.
The battle was long, so there shouldn't be much time until the departure now.
I have to make Lady Karina change into her dress in the airship, and then go around greeting the people who have come to see me off.
After thanking Baronet Dyukeli for the carriage, I exchange greetings with his daughter Merian, and the Noja Princess, Mitia.
"Satou-sama, the match earlier was amazing."
"It really was ja! A martial artist as skilled as Satou might even be nominated into the Shiga Eight Swords!"
I would immediately decline if such an offer came up.
Please excuse me from a place where people who are of the same type as the third prince gather.
Iruna and Jenna of the [Beautiful Wings] have also come as the representative of the training school.
"Please leave the Pendora apprentices to us."
"Right right, we won't let girlfriend-san and her friends get any injury, please don't worry."
"Are you talking about Zena-san? She's an important friend of mine, but she's not my lover you know?"
"Eh? Is it like that?"
"Didn't I say so Jenna? Satou-sama's lover is the one with big breasts, Karina-sama."
I also deny that, and then greet the next guests.
The leader of mid-level explorers, Koshin-shi, and Miss Gina and Miss Heriona of the [Moonlight] have also come. I couldn't talk for long with them, but I'm happy to receive their blessing.
Lastly, I greet Zena-san and the others for the last time before we depart.
"I'll be back in half a month, so please don't be rash during that time."
"Yes, I will study in the training school and get closer to the strength of Satou-san and the others even a little!"
"Leave Zena-cchi to me, I won't stop her being rash, but I won't let her be reckless."
I return Lilio's subtly un-relieving words with a bitter smile, and tell Zena-san to not do rash things once again.
We go toward the ramp where the airship is waiting.
We wave our hands toward Zena-san and the others while climbing the ramp.
We seem to be the last guests as they immediately take the ramp away as soon as I've boarded, and I can hear the hum from the activation of the airship's main engine.
We go toward the observatory room while being reminded of the the busy schedule in the Royal Capital.