Chapter 44 – At the Underground Training Grounds
I faced Chester at the Underground Training Grounds beneath the Knight’s Tower.
I confronted him with the main subject, ignoring introductions.
“I’ve heard rumors.”
“What kind of rumors?”
“That the Dragon Knights are feeling insecure because of the future development of Flight techniques. Lord Chester doesn’t have to worry, but do you have anything you want to tell me about this? Could it possibly be Lord Greg’s plan?”
After I said that, Chester frowned slightly. It was only for an instant, and then he immediately put on a smile to fix his expression.
“Let’s see, what was it?”
“At any rate, there isn’t anyone else around, and I understand that Lord Chester doesn’t have a good impression of me. I would prefer it if you could share your true intentions with me.”
“My true intentions, is it?”
After Chester closed his eyes, he shrugged.
“Very well. It’s true that I don’t like you. A filthy Magician is trying to venture into our territory, as if he owned the place. His Majesty is also interested in you. Commander-dono also appears to believe that the banquet wouldn’t have been held if you weren’t summoned. He’s taken a fancy to you, I think?”
I had heard that the Magicians and the Knights weren’t on good terms with each other. I didn’t know the details, though.
“Why go as far as hating the Magicians?”
“Why? I’ve heard about how you battle. When that Demon was your opponent, you first launched a surprise attack with a large spell. The movements you made afterwards were basically another surprise attack that made it unable to fly around. It’s always like this with Magicians. You don’t fight the way an honorable person fights. Please change that, before it’s too late.”
“…Are you saying that seriously?”
“Of course. It’s fine if you don’t leave the Adventurer’s Guild or the Labyrinth. However, I don’t like people like you getting involved with our glorious Kingdom. It’s not just me; Lord Greg has the same opinion.”
…Perhaps he was a guy on the path to Knighthood? I did realize that the Knights didn’t have anything like Demons as an opponent.
Their methods of provocation were lukewarm at best, and even if Greg had something on his mind, it was probably because of his personality. In short, Chester seemed to be taking what we were talking about right now into serious consideration, considering his position.
“If you ended up fighting a Demon with those thoughts, you’ll die, you know?”
“Hou, thanks for saying that. Unfortunately, I’ve never fought with a Demon before.”
“…I had no intention of saying that as a joke, nor am I being foolish.”
“I’m just saying that it’s better to make Demons surrender head on. The Dragon Knights won’t have a problem with the miasma and things like that if they get protection.”
Those who were strong and came from the Labyrinth were regarded as important, but there were no long, wide-scale wars in the Kingdom.
Regardless of the Labyrinth, it probably couldn’t be helped that the Knights’ way of thinking had developed towards valuing honor, considering they bore the responsibility of guarding the Palace and the Capital.
The Knights under direct command of the Palace probably thought of themselves as Elites…so it made sense that putting them with Magicians was like mixing water and oil.
The Knights failed to notice the kidnapping incident and the Demon’s intrusion, and certainly they had made a mistake by not making it to the Demon’s subjugation in time. After being left out of resolving the situation, they were probably outraged.
There were definitely ways to counter the miasma.
If it were the Knights, then it was probably possible to receive that support.
I was sure the Dragon Knights would compensate this disadvantage with aerial battles.
“Then, if you aren’t bluffing, would you give me some advice on this?”
Chester said, with an irritated tone. If he could overpower me, who exchanged blows with Lynette using Skills, in close combat techniques, then it would be easy for him to destroy a Demon head on…was probably what he was getting at.
“I don’t mind at all, you know. It’s quicker to prove and show it by using our Skills, right? I’ll accompany you for a bit in a mock battle, if we’re done talking.”
“Right now, with that appearance? You probably don’t have a weapon.”
He was probably misunderstanding something. There were practice spears with no spearheads leaning against the walls of the Underground Training Grounds.
The spears were made of iron that stretched until their handles. In this mock battle…as long as it wasn’t a Magic battle, this would be enough to be a substitute for a Staff. After putting a suitable practice spear in my hands, I said:
“And do you think a Demon would respect the state of one’s equipment and weapons?”
“…Interesting. Will you swear to stay out of Palace affairs if I win?”
Perhaps this included our talk about Flight techniques. For the time being, it was unlikely that anyone who could rival the Dragon Knights would appear any time soon…and if I were to get involved in promoting myself here personally, I didn’t know what would happen.
“That’s fine. I didn’t originally plan on quitting my job as an Adventurer at this point in time anyway. It will help me if you don’t get involved in my various matters if I win.”
Chester also picked up a practice spear, and then we faced each other. Chester was indeed a Dragon Knight. He knew how to use a long-handled weapon even if the battle was on the ground.
Well, Chester appeared to hate weaknesses that were caused by Magic, and I thought that his skill would be acceptable if he could do something about a Demon’s Flight and their Miasma.
“I’ll start then?”
The instant I obtained his consent, I kicked the floor of the Training Grounds and closed the distance in one breath. Although the wide-eyed Chester tried to counter it, his reaction was slow. I propped the spear’s handle onto my knee to use it as a shield, in order to strike him with my body while deflecting his attack, and then I rammed him. Even if I didn’t infuse Mana into the spear and handled it roughly for a bit, it probably wouldn’t break.
Chester, who received this attack, stumbled and stared at me, wide-eyed. His reaction told me that he had not thought that he would retreat a step just from being pressured by a child.
What I showed just now was a warm up. This was a mock battle so I couldn’t use spells with high killing power, and I couldn’t infuse my weapon with Mana either. Therefore, I decided to strengthen my body with Circulation, performing the fundamentals of my battle skills.
Immediately after that, I grabbed the middle of my spear and stepped forward, unleashing an attack from both sides, like I was swinging an oar. Sounds of metal clashed as our iron spears struck each other. The current distance was the range I excelled in. Although we both had the same weapon equipped, the way I used it was different from the beginning. I engulfed Chester’s thrust and drove him away. Our positions rapidly changed places, as if we were dancing a rondo.
Just as he got used to seeing the attacks from the side, I unexpectedly changed the trajectory, swinging downwards. I transitioned into a strike, as if I were going to scoop him up.
Although it didn’t finish him off and he blocked it with the back of his hand, Chester’s spear was left in his left hand, and he made a wide swing. I jumped backwards and avoided that strike.
“I won’t think of you as a brat any longer!”
Chester, who distanced himself from me, brandished his spear in a cowboy stance, and then his body and spear were enveloped in a blue aura.
It was a martial arts skill, Meteor Thrust. Chester fiercely charged at me with his whole body while thrusting his spear.
If I stuck to him and only defended, perhaps he would get impatient and give me the victory.
Although his Meteor Thrust certainly was fast, I had the theory that such a bold move would make their user lose their balance. Otherwise, they would suffer a severe blow.
Use a martial skill to deal with a martial skill. The Joujutsu skill, Sweeping Haze(霞払い).
The moment the tips of our spears touched each other, I changed the direction of his power. The sensation of his Aura and my Mana mixing was similar to that of riding on a rail and sliding on it. We switched stances at the same time and faced each other.
Chester’s body changed direction, and he ended up striking the wall of the Training Grounds.
He nearly withstood it before he struck the wall. I approached him without any difficulties, and then I slashed at Chester’s chest with the spear.
Although he blocked my spear at the last moment, he lost his balance. His body immediately bent over. While facing his side, I unleashed an attack and beat him down.
Chester received blows with condensed power in the form of a spiral, and he was blown towards the direction I wanted him to go. I pulled my spear away for a moment and gave him a low kick, and as he fell down, I thrusted my spear at his neck.
Just as I was about to stab his throat with the tip of my spear, I asked him:
“Do you admit your loss?”
Chester nodded, looking frustrated.
“The only times I was dealt with this nicely was when I was receiving lessons…from Commander and Oswald-dono long ago.”
That was right. To explain it more clearly, our experience differed.
Even if I said that my training was enhanced through BFO’s PvP system, it had accumulated through a massive amount of trial and error.
Training normally couldn’t take you this far, and people fought above their limits. This was done every day and night, until one was satisfied. It was like asking what kind of skills one should attack with, where to attack, how to deal with a situation, what the enemy’s next move would be, and what the best card they had right now was.
Martial skills, Magic, and Items as well. I had learned to finish any kind of battle, and I took great pains in learning how to see cheesy and checkmate situations, and how to counterattack them.
I had such a massive amount of experience and knowledge that, as long as my body kept up with this information with Circulation, I had no reason to lose easily.
“I certainly lost. However, I don’t think I am wrong. If you can go so far without using magic…isn’t playing petty tricks unnecessary with Demons as an opponent? If it’s you, that is.”
Thinking in such a way was an overestimation. The power of my Magic was displayed through close combat, and miasma bullets weren’t something that a physical body could endure. You would definitely die if you were devoured, so it was necessary to approach them while preventing that situation.
“…I think it’s splendid for Lord Chester to attain Knighthood. However, I have my own way of fighting and my own opinions on how to face battles. I would like the freedom to fight as I choose.”
“I want to fight in a way where I can manipulate how my opponents move. Reading their position and thoughts, and then crushing them, is the way I really battle. That’s why, even if battles are like these matches or mock battles, I have no intention of changing the way I fight, regardless of winning against opponents with one’s true ability or being inferior to them. Especially when Demons are my opponents. Those things are even more disgusting.”
“What have the Demons…done to you?”
After seeing my expression, Chester raised his eyebrows, as if he had also remembered something.
“…Well, that was a good discussion. There aren’t any challengers, so I believe that you can keep a promise.”
Leaving the question unanswered, I glanced at the dumbfounded Chester out of the corner of my eye, and then left the Underground Training Grounds.