Xant: This was tl’d by Elephant No.5 yet again.
Chapter 22 – Preliminaries, Day 2, Archer Corps
Military Personnel Audience Seating
“”The reinforcement magic was too strong!?””
Stupid Swordsman and I unusually spoken in sync.
It was the second day of the preliminaries. Conrad, Amy, Stupid Swordsman, Muscle Brother-san, and I were all currently in the Military Personnel Seating area.
The reason Stupid Swordsman and I were in sync was because we were confused when Amy suddenly apologized to Conrad after he drowsily came to the seating area. When Muscle Brother-san, Amy, and Conrad joined us, the three of them explained the reason for the apology to us in very sleepy voices.
The reason the three of them all appeared to be sleepy was because they had been up with Amy for most of the night, re-casting the reinforcement magic.
“So that’s why Kyle and Deen’s armours were dented.”
My face stiffened when I heard this.
“Eh? Deen’s armour had been dented?”
Stupid Swordsman asked me this like he was hearing it for the first time.
Oh yeah, this guy had left without making sure that Deen was okay.
“Umm, shouldn’t you be worried and check on your opponent after blowing him away?”
I asked him, flabbergasted.
Conrad and the others also looked at Stupid Swordsman with amazement.
“Wa-, wait! Why are you guys looking at me like that!?”
Stupid Swordsman said, while faltering before our gazes.
The room’s temperature seemed to rapidly drop at his reaction.
Then, as the tension in the room was reaching its peak:
“Ah! There you are, Swordsman Corps Captain!”
A man from the Swordsman Corps rushed over. He seemed to have been looking all over the place for Stupid Swordsman.
“Hmm? What is it? Why are you in such a rush?”
Stupid Swordsman asked the man.
What was going on?
“Don’t just say ‘What is it’! Vice-Captain Deen’s ribs were fractured, so he had to be hospitalized!”
Everyone was surprised by the sudden report.
Especially Amy, whose face had turned pale.
The Swordsman Corps man said:
“Please come visit him later!”
With that, he left.
We were speechless for a while.
“C’mon Amy, cheer up!”
Now, we were trying our best to cheer up the downcast Amy as we watched the Archer Corps preliminaries.
Amy was a timid person who took responsibility for her actions. In fact, it was one of her virtues, but it caused this incident to affect her deeply.
Amy hung her head sadly.
It seemed that our attempts to cheer her up only made her more despondent.
“I mean su-sure, maybe you did cast the reinforcement magic excessively, and it’d be bad if you didn’t feel repentant about the whole thing, but the one who injured him was Stupid Swordsman. Just bring this stupid guy with you when you visit, and I’m sure everything will work out fine.”
“Hey! Who you calling stupid!?”
Stupid Swordsman grumbled beside me as I did my best to comfort Amy.
“Well, you did actually injure him, Adel.”
Muscle Brother-san tried to calm Stupid Swordsman down.
Stupid Swordsman went silent upon hearing those words, and looked down with a sullen face.
Sheesh, was he a little kid or something?
“Ah, that’s right. Commander, you watched the Swordsman Corps matches with Alice and the others yesterday, didn’t you?”
Conrad suddenly changed the subject.
It seemed as though he was trying to change the mood.
I really had to thank him. By changing the conversation to a more cheerful topic, Amy’s mood could improve.
As expected of Conrad, he was a capable man.
“Well, I had originally arranged to meet with just Claude, but I stumbled into Alice by chance on the way there, so we ended up watching the matches together.”
“So that’s what happened.”
Conrad nodded his head in understanding, leaving the other three to tilt their heads in confusion.
“Hey, who’s Claude?”
Muscle Brother-san asked the question that Amy and Stupid Swordsman had on their minds.
What, they don’t know about him?
As the Imperial Covert Investigator, Claude’s identity was mostly a secret. He was, however, rather well known for his “excursions” to the shopping district.
“He’s my friend.”
Since explaining was a pain, I answered simply.
Besides being a comrade and a partner in crime, among other things, since he was my first peer, I used the word “friend”.
“Friend…as in your companion?”
Muscle Brother-san said with a surprised expression.
It was a bit rude.
“Well, he’s pretty much my friend!……but, in the empire, he’s the only one I have…”
I responded to Muscle Brother-san’s question, but I became sad at the fact that, other than Claude, I had no one to call a friend.
It might have been my imagination, but the raucous soldiers seemed to have fallen silent since a while back…
“Uhhh, that, um… Sorry.”
Muscle Brother-san apologized to the crestfallen me.
Stop, it’s too sad.
Agh, everybody is looking at me with pity in their eyes!!
Even Stupid Swordsman is looking at me like that!!
An awkward silence came over the military personnel seating area.
This pitiful consolation continued past the start of the Archer Corps finals…
Archer Corps Tournament Grounds
I was waiting for the starting signal for the match against the Archer Corps Vice-captain, Charlotte Aveline.
It seemed that the Military Personnel Seating Area had become quiet, for some reason. Had something happened?
A strangely dark and heavy atmosphere was oozing from there…
“…Captain, are you getting complacent?”
I heard Charlotte sullenly comment on how I was looking at the Military Personnel Seating Area, so I turned towards her.
She had long hair, tied into a ponytail, that flowed down to her waist and sharp, blue eyes, all complemented by a dignified face.
Her height was average, around 160 kuameito.
She was wearing leather armor over a white shirt, dark brown leather pants, and long black boots.
She was the Archer Corps’ number two, with my help…or not.
“Sheesh, you’re always like that. Your attitude shows that you have no interest at all in your opponent. You’re really good at riling up your opponents, you know. But why? Do you really have no interest in your opponents? Ah, so that’s it. This is just your normal behaviour. Whenever we had to deal with paperwork, you’d always find some trivial reason to run away, and then, when you came back the next morning, you still wouldn’t even try to help with the work. Do you hate us subordinates? Is that it?”
Charlotte made no attempts to hide her ill-humour as she straightforwardly described her dissatisfaction.
Perhaps it was just my imagination running wild, but those words felt like arrows stabbing into my chest.
Charlotte’s attitude towards me was nothing unusual, but today she was twice as scathing.
“Hey, Captain! Are you even listening?”
It seems that letting out a sigh was a mistake.
Her sardonic comments were becoming unbearable, so I decided it was time to call her out on it.
“Charlotte, why are you in such a bad mood today?”
Was asking that question a mistake?
When I asked that question, it seemed as though Charlotte was emitting a black aura. Was it just my imagination?
Charlotte trembled as she clenched her fists tightly and began to reply in a low, dreadful voice.
“Do you think I don’t have a reason to be angry? You know I asked you to sign the papers due this week before the preliminaries. Yet, even now, you probably still haven’t even glanced at a single piece of the paperwork, am I right? I bet you went on a trip instead. You did, right? You probably went and made passes at all the girls you saw, both in the castle and on the streets, right? It must be great having servants. You can just throw all your work onto them and go off to do whatever you want, you…”
I broke into a cold sweat upon hearing Charlotte’s words.
Shoot, I forgot about those documents.
“Haah~, Why must the Archer Corps’ captain be so difficult… It would be so much nicer if you were like Black Knight-sama: zealous about work, considerate of his subordinate’s work, and, without abusing his power, truly concerned about the people and the country.”
Hearing Charlotte’s words, my face twitched.
Why would she compare me to that guy, the Black Knight?
Why him of all people?
There are at least four other captains… Well, excluding Adelbert… three other captains.
“…Why are you comparing me to the Black Knight?”
This time, I was the one who was ill-humoured.
The nickname that the Black Knight gave was good, but I didn’t know what it meant at first.
The bad feelings I had were gone, and we interacted normally now–thinking about it now, our attitudes were to blame back then.
Since he is the knight Conrad respects, I certainly couldn’t deny that he was the best knight.
I knew all this…but still!
I just couldn’t stand being compared to that Black Knight!!
However, Charlotte didn’t know about these thoughts of mine and, as if the previous ill-humour was a lie, responded cheerfully.
“That person, as a commander, is unparalleled. He oversees the training of not only our corps, but also the soldiers of the other corps. Not only that, he also gives precise instructions during monster or bandit subjugation missions. And, best of all, he actually fills out paperwork on time.”
If her words were like arrows, then that last line was the killing blow.
Her previous words were scathing on purpose, but the most effective one was unintentional…
Charlotte expanded further.
“Moreover, that person is just so dreamy~. When I fell behind while fighting an ogre, I thought I was done for! He gallantly rushed in while riding a black unicorn. Ah~, It was so lovely, even recalling it now. After slaying the ogre, upon seeing that I had not moved, he purposefully dismounted from the unicorn and worried about me. He carried me all the way to the headquarters.”
When I saw Charlotte blush and squirm while remembering this, I thought:
Who is this person!?
The person in front of me should be my vice-captain!
Charlotte, a beautiful but stern, hard-working woman!
She had followed me, her boss, for a long time, but I had never seen her look like a maiden in love.
Charlotte’s demeanor was famous in the capital, so it was likely that no one else had seen this love-struck maiden side of her either.
As proof, the referee, who was close enough to hear the conversation, drew back in surprise.
Was that person really Charlotte?
“Ah, umm…Is it alright if we start soon?”
Either because he thought that we couldn’t leave the audience waiting, or because he was thrown off by this never before seen side of Charlotte — probably both — the referee interjected.
“Let’s start at once.”
I immediately replied.
I wouldn’t be confused by this any longer.
I held the bow in my left hand and adopted a battle stance.
Charlotte came to her senses and also assumed a battle stance.
She had completely returned to the normal Charlotte.
Well then, win or lose, let’s have a fair fight!!
At the signal, we both created some distance from each other.
“Create a block of ice: 『Ice Block!』”
“Raise the earth! 『Gnome Block!』”
We invoked each of our specialty elements and created many ice and earthen walls to hide behind.
Since the specialty of the Archer Corps was long-distance attacks, we were unsuited for close combat.
We could aim for the vitals and kill with the bow and arrow, but hitting a moving opponent was an art.
It was a hard-to-handle weapon, and not very effective against large monsters.
Since archery techniques alone were not enough, we had to use magic to compensate.
Just like how we were using the ice and earth walls.
Against another long-distance attacker, like an archer, protecting yourself against arrows was essential, so on the tournament ground, where there were no barriers, we had to make our own.
We often used this method in actual combat.
Of course, it wasn’t suited for close quarters combat or against large monsters, but it was useful for protecting against most attacks.
However, it was impossible to hide forever.
I moved towards the walls of ice while staying behind cover.
Assuming that Charlotte was doing the same thing, we should be gradually approaching each other.
I nocked an arrow from the quiver on my back.
Normally, we would enchant the arrow with magic to increase its killing ability, but that would disqualify us for foul play in this match.
Though the arrows used in the matches were magically reinforced, they weren’t reinforced to an extreme extent and only had the power to bruise.
Even if it hit the head, it would only cause swelling.
I thought that was the gist of it, but killing someone would be grounds for disqualification in this match.
Even when using the competition arrows, since they were strengthened with reinforcement magic, the arrows could be lethal.
That was why, if the arrows were enchanted, it would mean that there was an intent to kill.
As I searched for her, with my bowstring drawn, Charlotte and I passed by each other.
I shot the arrow.
Military Personnel Audience Seating
“As expected, since it’s a match between the captain and the vice-captain, it’s on a completely different level.
Muscle Brother-san commented on the match between Long Blue-haired Ikemen and Charlotte.
Had something happened, for there to be a chilling feeling shortly before the match started?
As I watched the finals, I thought back on how the two people were acting before the match.
Charlotte had been speaking harshly towards Long Blue-haired Ikemen as usual, but at some point, she became good-humored.
Celestia Aveline was the Archer Corps’ Vice-Captain.
She was 20 years old.
Three months ago, she and I subjugated ogres together.
I brought the same few subordinates every time, other than that one time.
Normally, Conrad would come with me as my aide, but he had other work that day, so I brought Charlotte as a substitute aide.
Then, something happened.
I had never had an aide other than Conrad accompany me before, so I moved as if Conrad were with me.
Putting it simply, I gave orders to my subordinates without considering the difference in level between Conrad and Charlotte.
As a result, Charlotte’s leg was injured by an ogre’s attack.
I was separated from her, engaging another ogre, but my blood froze when I saw that.
Realizing that it was my fault, I dispatched the ogre in front of me. Luckily, I was able to get onto Hayate, and as he leapt at full strength, I drew Sakuya and decapitated the ogre attacking Charlotte.
I dismounted from Hayate as he landed, rushed over to her, and carried out first-aid treatment on her leg as I apologized.
It would have been better for her to ride back to headquarters on a horse, but since I was the only knight, there were no horses.
Hayate would absolutely never let anybody other than me ride him, so I had to carry her — in a princess carry — back to headquarters.
I had never been princess carried, so I didn’t think a day would come when I would do the carrying.
After reminiscing about that, I returned to watching the match.
There was a slight difference in the rules for the Archer Corps matches.
If the arrows weren’t magically reinforced, they would have minimal strength, so the arrows used in the matches would be ineffective, and nothing would happen.
For that reason, the match wasn’t a pointless one. If the arrowhead hit the left side of the chest — meaning the heart — it would decide the outcome of the match.
Each corps had the same rules for the last day of the preliminaries.
It seemed like there were some people who were dissatisfied with the rules ending it too quickly, but I thought that it was pretty interesting.
In each match, they used their specialty magic to create a battle environment, and since it was never the same, it was exciting to watch the battles.
Then, when they moved to avoid the arrows, there was the suspense of not knowing when they would be hit!
Well, in the middle, I became crestfallen and only had vague memories of the matches, but the Archer Corps battles kept me on the edge of my seat!
The current match was especially exciting.
In these circumstances, the level of their technique, strength, and judgement far exceeded that of the others.
They anticipated their opponent’s attacks and dodged them while counter attacking.
It looked easy to do, but it was actually difficult.
Unlike how it was with close quarters weapons, one could not be indecisive when attacking from a distance.
If they got closer, their accuracy would improve, but then they wouldn’t be able to deal with attacks from swords, spears, and similar weapons.
It would be different if the arrows were made of metal, but in this world of Eldoa, they were made of wood.
There were some arrows that could withstand swords, spears, and blunt weapons, but either way, arrows were projectiles: long-range weapons.
Due to that, technique, strength, and judgement were as important as magic strengthening for an archer in a real battle.
Well, I only knew this from the knowledge that was given to me.
(ED: To clarify, she is probably talking about the knowledge the god gave her.)
Now then, let’s focus on the match.
Though they were both strong, high level people, Long Blue-haired Ikemen would probably win.
After watching him several times, I understood that his technique was superior.
However, there was no apparent difference between them in the match.
There was also a chance that he would be hit by one of his opponents on the last day of the preliminaries.
During the Finals
“Well then, I have to go soon.”
While standing behind an ice block, I gripped my bow.
It was about time for Charlotte’s weakness to appear.
Well, she had been trying to mitigate that weakness recently.
I broke into a run in Charlotte’s direction.
Charlotte was breathing heavily, about to raise her bow.
Okay, just as expected.
Charlotte’s weakness was that she had less stamina than I did.
Though, that was my weak point as well.
“Charlotte, didn’t you last longer this time?”
Her stamina had increased from before.
“Of- of course! I didn’t skip out on training once!!”
As she said that, she shot an arrow at me.
I smiled as I dodged the arrow and sent one back at her.
Since I wasn’t intending to hit her, she easily dodged the arrow, despite breathing heavily.
That is, the arrow had guided her to the perfect position, and now she had been caught.
Charlotte noticed something amiss with the place she stepped on, but it was too late.
I activated the trap magic under her feet, and Charlotte’s lower body froze to the ground.
This was also one of the tactics we archers used.
There were many ways to restrict a fast-moving target, but a tired opponent like this was easy to lead into a prepared trap.
An opening would appear when a tired opponent was pressed.
“Sheesh, you let your guard down!”
As I said that, I shot an arrow towards the dumbfounded Charlotte.
The arrow flew straight at her.
It hit her on her chest.
Though I thought so every time, it was a pitiful sound.
“Winner, Adolf Addinsell! The champion of the Archer Corps Tournament is Adolf Addinsell!”
The crowd went wild when the referee announced the winner.
After we both erased our ice blocks, stone walls, and traps, we faced each other.
“Haah~, I still lost…”
Charlotte sighed and dropped her shoulders.
“Haha! Of course! Your defeat was inevitable!”
I happily said to Charlotte.
When Charlotte heard that, her face soured. It was really scary!
We gave our formal bows.
“Well, now I’ll head to where Conrad and the others are.”
“Huh? What are you saying?”
Charlotte responded in her usual tone.
Shoot, I should have tried to discreetly sneak over to where Conrad and the others were.
“Right now, you need to finish the paperwork. Finish it before the day ends.”
While saying that, she grabbed my neck and dragged me out.
“Gueh! Hey, cut it out! It hurts!!”
“But, if I don’t do this, you will run away, right?”
Tch, it was exposed.
It seemed that I would be doing paperwork today.
However, before that,
“I got it, I got it! Still, let me go to the Military Personnel Seating area once. I am supposed to report to Conrad after the match finishes.”
“Haah? Isn’t it fine if you send a message through a subordinate?”
Well, that was true but…
“It’s not only that! I arranged to train with the Black Knight after the preliminaries!!”
“With Black Knight-sama?”
Charlotte reacted when I mentioned the Black Knight.
I saw her cheeks redden, and her face loosened.
…Hey, you really are…
“That’s an important matter! Let’s go! Let’s go immediately!!”
Charlotte, who had turned into a love-struck maiden, dragged me towards the Military Personnel Seating area by the neck.
When I saw this, I thought:
Black Knight, an unbelievable woman has fallen for you…
Since I knew how much of a pain Charlotte was, it was the first time I pitied that Black Knight.
I followed Charlotte while sighing.
Military Personnel Seating Area
“Aah, I studied!”
The Commander said, after Adolf and Charlotte left.
“Hm? Black Knight, are you still studying, even now?”
Curious, Brandon asked the Commander.
“Ah, I need to find out what to do about the Archer Corps training going forward. From now on, you are going to spar with Long Blue-haired Ikemen, Muscle Brother-san.”
“…Don’t call me Muscle Brother-san.”
Brandon objected to the nickname the Commander gave him.
After half a year, he should have realized that it was futile.
“Haah, whatever. That aside, I’ve gotten hungry. Since it seems that Black Knight has work, you should wait here. Also, since Conrad is the vice-commander, you should send somebody to go buy it.”
Brandon stood up as he said that.
“Wait a minute! Why me!?”
Adelbert was taken along.
After that, Amy followed them, and I was left waiting with the Commander.
“At any rate, the finals were truly amazing!”
As I talked with the Commander, I saw that her face had become loose from the afterglow of the excitement.
“Yes, as expected of Adolf and Charlotte.”
I responded, delighted that the Commander had enjoyed it.
The Commander who had to conceal her appearance and had to constantly wear armor. I thought that she had to feel cramped a lot of the time.
When I had heard that she was not considered a mature adult at 17 years old, I doubted whether she could bear the burden of being the Commander.
However, despite those doubts, I saw that the Commander had worked for the good of the country with all of her effort, and I felt that it was good that I was serving under such a person.
Besides, Claude was there as a friend to the Commander, who was swamped with work everyday.
Whenever the Commander talked with him, she truly had fun.
Though I was jealous, I was also grateful for it.
Since she was from a foreign country, the Commander would sometimes look up at the sky with a lonely expression on her face.
I had only learned that she could no longer return to her hometown the other day.
When Claude arrived, the Commander seemed happier.
Whenever the Commander talked with a friend as an equal, she was truly lively.
It was different from how she was with Alice and me.
Although she trusted us, Alice and I were subordinates.
Of course, friends and subordinates were different.
That was why I trusted Claude and wanted to help him with Alice’s matter.
Just like with the Commander, I didn’t know where he came from.
However, as the one who saved the Commander from loneliness, he was indispensable.
Naturally, I didn’t lose to Claude in supporting the Commander.
Besides, I wanted to protect the Commander’s surroundings.
I respected the Commander, but I also felt another emotion.
I didn’t know what this feeling was, but it was special to me.
I stayed close to the Commander while holding onto those feelings.
My thoughts changed to this as I sat next to the cheerful Commander.
“Yo~, I made you wait…”
Upon hearing that voice, I raised my eyes.
There was Long Blue-haired Ikemen and, for some reason, Charlotte.
“Ah, thank you for your work.”
For now, I replied, waiting for them to come here.
“Black Knight-sama, Vice-commander Conrad, good day.”
Charlotte greeted us with a sweet smile.
As expected of a noble from high society, her movements were refined.
“Ah, hello Vice-captain Charlotte.”
I returned her greetings.
Suddenly, Charlotte started blushing and squirming, and I tilted my head, puzzled.
“Aah, Black-Knight-sama is truly gallant and dreamy!”
As she said that, she walked past Conrad and clasped my left hand, holding it near her chest.
Charlotte’s eyes were sparkling, and her cheeks were pink.
I knew that expression well.
It was the same expression that fangirls showed Baka-suke.
Eh? It couldn’t be…
“Black Knight-sama, I would like to ask you something.”
“Eh? Ah, um, what is it?”
I replied nervously.
“Black Knight-sama, do you have a lover?”
The soldiers around us did a spit take.
“Then, anybody you yearn for?”
This time, aside from Conrad and Long Blue-haired Ikemen, they drew away from us.
If I could, I would also leave.
“Tha- that, I don’t have one either.”
As I replied, my face cramping up, Charlotte’s eyes sparkled.
When I saw that expression, I was convinced.
It was as I thought.
How did it get to this!?
“…Hey, don’t you think that the Commander is feeling troubled? Leave him alone immediately.”
While I was still bewildered, Conrad interjected and pulled us apart, putting me behind him.
Just when I thought I was saved, the atmosphere between Conrad and Charlotte became turbulent.
“What are you doing, Vice-commander Conrad.”
“That should be my line, Vice-captain Charlotte. Don’t you know that you are troubling the Commander?”
Sparks started to fly from their argument.
I called out to Long Blue-haired Ikemen.
“Umm, I still can’t believe this situation, so can you help me confirm it? What’s up with Vice-captain Charlotte?”
I asked him if I had misunderstood it, hoping for him to deny it.
“You understood the situation correctly, and I can understand your impulse to escape. In short, the scene before you is reality.”
As I feared, I received the reply that it was reality.
I fell to my hands and knees.
After placing a hand on my shoulder, Long Blue-haired Ikemen said:
“I sympathise with you, but accept it. Charlotte is heads-over-heels in love with you. Be relieved. I will pair you and Charlotte together. Conrad will try to prevent it, but Celestia and Amy will also support you. So, you should stay lively.”
I didn’t know what caused this, but Long Blue-haired Ikemen sympathized with me.
If it were like normal, there would be passion and teasing, but there wasn’t any here.
“Why is this…”
Just then, the three people who went to buy lunch returned and were astonished by the quarreling Conrad and Charlotte.
They asked a subordinate what was happening, and the soldier said that the Long Blue-haired Ikemen had been consoling me, who was on my knees, for about ten minutes.
To be continued
Thanks for waiting!!
Chapter 22 is finished!!
I am truly sorry.
My excuse is that the battle scene was packed with references from movies and games.
I also didn’t have much free time, so I didn’t study enough.
I am very sorry!
Now then, the main story was the Archer Corps.
When I started writing the battle, I asked, “Huh? How do archers fight?”. I researched it and thought about how they would fight in Eldoa, and surprisingly, time passed in the blink of an eye.
How did it end up?
Charlotte, who made her debut, was planned to be someone Chie was weak to.
As for Conrad, I wonder how his feelings for Chie will develop…(fufufu).
I will try my best to update again this month.
Please continue to enjoy “The Black Knight that was Stronger than the Hero” from now on!