Chapter 26 – Preliminaries, Final Day (Part 1)
TL Note: I misunderstood the ranks in the army. Chie, Celes, Stupid Swordsman, etc. should be the rank of Commander. (Squad) Captain should be used for people like Luke (Chapter 18). Well, if you remember the series well enough to be thrown off without this TL note, then… congrats to you! Also, It’s been about a year since I started TLing! (I started May 31st) Happy TLiversary to me!
Player Waiting Room (Chie POV)
We had finally reached the last day of the finals.
We Commanders were waiting for our matches in the waiting room.
The order of the matches was: Knight Corps vs Swordsman Corps, Archer Corps vs. Spearman Corps, and Fighter Corps vs Magician Corps.
After those three matches, the winner of the Knight vs Swordsman match would fight against the winner of the Archer vs Spearman match. The winner of that match would then compete against the winner of the Fighter vs Magician match. The winner of this final match would become the representative.
At a glance, Muscle-Brother-san and Amy seemed to be at ease, belying the fact that both of them had just had a match yesterday. Meanwhile, the other four Commanders, who had gotten a couple of days of rest, had plenty of energy left to compete in multiple matches.
Besides, since today’s matches would only be between the Commanders, there wouldn’t be very many of them.
If everything went to schedule, the events would end at around two in the afternoon.
Well, it wouldn’t calm down immediately after that.
Festivities would be held in the capital.
According to Conrad, the Shopping District would be filled with parade floats and everyone, young and old, would party late into the night.
Regardless of where in the world, humans surely loved festivals.
I wanted to enjoy those festivities in the future, but as the Commander, I couldn’t do that.
His Majesty was hosting a ball that would start at six in the evening.
Not just the winner, but all of the Commanders, Vice-commanders, soldiers, and even noble heirs had to attend.
It was really a pain.
That being said, it would also be absurd to not attend.
Just like having lunch with the royal family yesterday was a part of my job, I couldn’t skip the ball just because it was a pain.
Luckily, it seemed that the Nobles would bring their children along, so at least those children would heal me.
“Knight Commander, Swordsmen Corps Commander. It is almost time.”
The soldier in the waiting room called us.
The Stupid Swordsman and I left the waiting room.
He glared at me for a second, but since this happened frequently, I didn’t mind.
I would have minded it if it had been the Prime Minister, though.
He was probably staring daggers at me from the royal audience seating area…
I was slightly dejected at that thought, but since I couldn’t do anything about it right now, I concentrated on the upcoming match.
General Audience Seating (Conrad POV)
Since we both had a day off today, Alice and I decided to spend it by watching the tournament from the general audience seats together.
Even though it was my day off, I still had to attend the ball this evening.
The other day, Alice had become disappointed when she heard about the ball.
The ball was held at every tournament, but according to Alice, it seemed that:
“I can’t choose clothes for Black Knight-sama…”
Not only was the Commander’s identity a secret, but her gender was as well, so it couldn’t be helped.
When I told her that Chie couldn’t wear a dress, Alice replied:
“I understand that, but don’t you want to see her in a dress, Brother?”
Actually, I did want to see that.
Most of her civilian clothes were masculine.
I had never seen her in feminine clothing.
I had once asked her about wearing feminine clothes in her room, but…:
“To be honest, I don’t really like wearing skirts. I wore one because it was part of my school uniform, but I prefer clothes that are easy to move in. I would rather spend money on my katana, instead of on fashionable clothes.”
She answered, while performing maintenance on her sword, Sakuya.
At that moment, I understood.
The Commander had an obsession with katanas.
At that time, she was wearing a truly blissful expression as she did maintenance on Sakuya.
Soldiers like us or Adventurers affiliated with the guild were very familiar with the weapons they used, but the Commander’s love for her katana was in a class of its own.
One time, we talked about how the shape of the sword had changed compared to its original shape, and how the way of using it had changed.
It was quite an interesting subject, but wasn’t she too well-informed about it?
I had thought at that time that the delighted expression that the Commander wore was cute.
Alice, who had been present at that time, was smiling, but it was a slightly forced smile.
“Haah, what a shame. Even though the main attraction of the ball will be the Black Knight.”
“I already said that it can’t be helped. The person herself has no interest in fashion.”
“I know, but…”
It was unusual to see Alice refuse to give up.
Normally, she would immediately switch topics when it got to this point.
“That person deserves to be called the Empire’s Strongest. As one who serves that person, my pride cannot allow it!”
Ahh, so it was like that.
That certainly would be hard for her to concede.
“However, that person will definitely end up wearing armour. It looks elegant, and wouldn’t be particularly out of place at a party.
Alice reluctantly agreed but her face showed her discontent.
“That armor certainly does have an artistic design. It probably wouldn’t seem out of place. Black Knight-sama did say that it was made specifically for her.”
Alice said with resignation.
Sheesh, she could act childish at the strangest times.
“Yo! Are you siblings watching the matches together today?”
A familiar voice called out from behind us, and we turned around. His short red hair and moustache were as messy as usual, and he was squinting because of his poor eyesight. It was Uncle Byron.
“Mornin’, Uncle Byron.”
“Good morning, Byron-san. Are you taking a day off today?”
We greeted Uncle Byron.
“Yep!! Today is the day that the representative is decided. I came to cheer on Sir Black Knight!!”
He was as boisterous as ever.
Normally, it was so loud that I almost wanted to cover my ears, but within the crowd in the seating area, it was just at the right level.
Since his voice was normally that loud, everyone avoided discussing private matters with him, but that was also kept a secret from him.
“Anyways, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen you two watching matches together.”
Uncle Byron spoke heartily.
Come to think of it, how many years had it been since we both went out together?
“Ever since mother and father passed away, and before Brother dropped out of school and joined the Knight Corps, so…it’s been about six years?”
Oh, it had been that long, huh.
Back when mom and dad were alive, they had been commoners affiliated with the guild. Our father was a swordsman while our mother was a magician.
I inherited my mother’s aptitude for magic, but since I also had my father’s talent for combat, I threw myself into swordsmanship training at a young age.
When I was ten, Alice was born, and I took care of her in place of our parents, who were both working at the time. Whenever I went out, Alice would accompany me.
Well, at fourteen, I had become a delinquent, so fights became an everyday occurrence.
It was around that time that Alice’s ability to perceive danger became more developed.
That lifestyle ended when I was eighteen and Alice was eight.
Our parents formed a party with three others and accepted a subjugation request. They died during that mission.
The target in the request had been a group of goblins.
The request had come from a nearby village that was struggling because of their ruined crops.
It was a simple mission, and normally, they would have returned immediately.
That should have been the case, but after several days, the only thing that returned was my father’s sword and a magic necklace.
We still don’t know what had happened.
All we knew was that on their way back to the capital after subjugating the goblins, something had happened.
There weren’t any corpses to lay in their graves.
As a memento, I kept the sword, while Alice kept the necklace.
That sword was the bastard sword I used now.
With our parents gone, our relatives were fussing over Alice’s custody, but I quit school instead and joined the Imperial Army’s Knight Corps.
Adolf dropped out of school with me and joined the Archer Corps.
Why had I joined the army instead of the guild? I had to support both Alice and myself, so rather than relying on an unstable income from the guild, it was better for me to join the army, which provided a more stable income.
I worked like a dog, and before I even noticed it, Alice and I were barely spending any time together.
Until the Commander appeared, I didn’t think we ever had any time to just talk and relax at home.
“Gahahaha! I didn’t see the delinquent brat and his wee little sister anymore, so I felt lonely.
I almost gave up on seeing both of you together!”
Before I knew it, Byron had sat down on the left of Alice.
“Stop pestering me about being a delinquent, Uncle. Especially in front of the Commander.”
“Hm? What is it, Conrad? Sir Knight wouldn’t particularly mind, y’know? Rather, he would probably be curious and ask more questions about it.”
Several dark emotions filled my heart when I heard that, and I became impatient.
It was quite embarrassing.
“Wait a minute! What the heck are you going on about!?”
I quickly threw a question at Uncle Byron.
Even now, she already knew about many things that I hadn’t wanted her to know, but but there would be nothing left to expose if I revealed any more.
“What? Well, it could be about your undefeated brawling record, or the countless women you went through within a month, or how you won against Adolf in a duel, or maybe how your teacher chased you all the way to the shopping district ‘cause you were playing hooky…”
“Stop it! Especially about my past relationships with women!!”
Why was he mentioning those kinds of things!!
I absolutely didn’t want the Commander to know, since she was a woman, but more importantly, because she was my superior and I looked at her with respect.
What would I do if she became disgusted with me!?
“Calm down, brother. Black Knight-sama once said.”
—-‘Hahaha! So Conrad also has times when he acts this cute, huh?’
“He seemed really amused. He called your legacy ‘cute’, so you should have nothing to worry about.”
Alice smiled sweetly.
For some reason, she wasn’t disillusioned by me, but… as a man, it was a somewhat complicated feeling.
I was unable to speak clearly, and a strange feeling enveloped my heart.
“Hmm? What is it, Conrad?”
“Fufufu, oh brother…”
Uncle Byron tilted his head in confusion, and Alice laughed.
“It’s nothing! Anyways, the match will start soon.”
Slightly disgruntled, I shifted my focus to the arena grounds.
The Commander and Adelbert entered the field.
Adelbert glared at the Commander, but since this happened all the time, it wasn’t a problem.
As for the Prime Minister? Yes, as always, he wore a truly menacing expression while he was sitting beside His Majesty.
I knew that the Commander would be the one to win, but either way… Do your best, Commander!
Haah, I always felt so stressed before an audience.
The Stupid Swordsman and I were currently about to fight each other.
Just like always, he glared at me.
Come to think of it, this was going to be my first time crossing swords with a member of the Swordsman Corps.
He trained together with his fellow members most of the time, so we never had any mock battles between our groups.
I felt slightly uneasy.
Even if I had more strength than the other commanders and trained quite a bit with Claude, I was still nervous.
I was only human, and I still didn’t have much confidence in being the Commander.
Even now, I still wasn’t sure if I was well suited to participate in the tournament to select the country’s representative.
However, since I was the Commander, I couldn’t back out.
Since I was appointed to this position by His Majesty, and through Conrad and Kyle’s recommendations despite other opinions, many among the nobility had a strong distaste for me, especially the Prime Minister.
It was really hard at first.
There was a lot of backbiting and harassment, and many rumors were spread about me.
After I slew Fafnir, those things slowly diminished.
They probably became afraid of me; it seemed like I had become an object of terror.
Well, that sort of stuff had calmed down since then.
That was why I was able to take part in the Representative Selection Tournament without reservations.
I still didn’t want to participate though…
“Now then, are you both ready?”
The referee suddenly called out, startling me.
Oops, this wasn’t the time or place to be thinking about these sorts of things. I had to focus on the match!
“Ah, no problem.”
Stupid Swordsman and I readied our wooden sword and katana, respectively.
Seeing that we had done so, the referee raised his arm.
He swung his arm down as he called out.
We both leapt forward at the same time and began exchanging blows.
During the Knight Corps matches, I had sparred against my subordinates, but their skills paled in comparison.
I see. He may be dumb, but he was still the Swordsman Corps’ Commander.
His strikes had speed, technique, and most of all, explosive force.
Each of his blows were heavy.
I had the advantage in strength, but he had more experience.
That experience was cultivated over the course of many trials.
Under the helmet, my face contorted.
The Stupid Swordsman also wore the same expression.
I had yet to receive a blow.
Noticing an opening, I counterattacked.
I was good at finding openings for counterattacks right after evading attacks.
However, his experience served him well.
After a split-second decision, he distanced himself.
Argh, what a troublesome opponent!!
With that thought in my mind, I swung my katana at the Stupid Swordsman.
I used small-scale movements to avoid exposing any openings.
If I hastily made a large swing, I would have a painful experience.
This man wasn’t that kind.
Or should I say, what was with his eyes?
Usually, his eyes were droopy and lacked energy, but right now, his eyes were raised and glaring at me. It looked like a feral beast’s stare.
Where did that smug, pompous man go!!
There was no way that he was backed into a corner already.
I felt like I was now going to see this expression everyday while I was at work.
As we locked blades, I seriously thought that.
Sheesh, he didn’t make this sort of face during the Swordsman Corps matches, but the moment he stepped into the arena with me, he started making it!!
Did he really hate me this much!?
It couldn’t be helped if he couldn’t stand what I had done for the last half year, but I had my own reasons, too, you know?
Even though I was rethinking the training regimen for the army from scratch, he barely talked to me about the Swordsman Corps, so I had to plan everything by myself. Then, when we put that training method into practice, he kept complaining while remaining on the sidelines. What the heck did he want from me?
Ah, I got angry just thinking about it…
I leapt backwards, disengaging our blades.
Stupid Swordsman charged forward, with his sword at his side.
However, that was a perfect chance for my irritated self.
As Stupid Swordsman swung his sword, I rotated my body clockwise, and kicked with my right leg.
My kick landed on his stomach, and sent him flying back.
He tumbled across the ground a few times, and stayed on the ground.
He tried to get up a few times but couldn’t.
“That’s it! The winner is the Black Knight!!”
The crowd went wild and the referee’s announcement.
Feeling slightly refreshed, I walked over to the Stupid Swordsman.
“Hey, you alright, Stupid Swordsman?”
I crouched down.
I actually held back, but he ended up flying this far.
I thought that he wouldn’t be able to move for a bit.
“…Coward! You use a katana, so you should fight with one! And don’t call me Stupid Swordsman!”
He couldn’t move, but he was still as bold as ever.
Yep, I didn’t have to worry about him.
“I wasn’t being a coward. Everyone, including you, should have known that I use different techniques, including kicking. It’s also a legitimate technique from my hometown.”
With that, I looked away from his sulky gaze.
Then, after watching him getting carted off on a stretcher, I returned to the waiting room.
General Audience Seats
“What was that kicking technique just now?”
Uncle Byron was dumbfounded by what he had seen in the match between the Commander and Adelbert.
Well, I couldn’t blame him, since that was his first time seeing that.
“That was called the ‘Spinning Back Kick’. The technique uses centrifugal force to kick the solar plexus.”
Heeh, so that was the name of it.
“Why do you know that?”
He looked at Alice in surprise.
Alice wore her signature sweet smile.
“The other day, I received lessons from Black Knight-sama.”
What a frightening answer.
Lil’ Sis, if you become any stronger, nobody will want to take you as a bride.
Ah, there’s Claude.
“Bu- but, is that move okay?”
Uncle Byron tilted his head as he asked.
I envied how oblivious Uncle Byron was.
“There isn’t any particular problem with it. Although they were using swords, there is nothing in the rules that says that you can’t use martial arts. The Commander always kicks.”
“Is that so? I had always thought that Sir Knight could only use a sword.”
Uncle Byron was mystified.
Well, I understood how he was feeling.
“I was also surprised when I first saw it, but according to the Commander:”
‘Always be flexible, the easiest actions are the most efficient.’
“So that’s it… I have to agree with what he said.”
“I see. But, seriously, that was some amazing strength.”
I agreed with Uncle Byron’s words, but–
“That was still holding back.”
Uncle Byron widened his eyes.
It was still too early to be surprised.
“On a Golem subjugation mission three months ago, a golem was defeated by that kick.”
“Haah!? Hey, hey, Golems aren’t light! They’re six metres tall!! They’re also practically just a lump of rock! How could you send something like that flying with a kick!?”
Uncle Byron cried out in disbelief.
The surrounding people who had heard me also stared at me with wide eyes.
There was something wrong with what Uncle Byron said.
“That’s not it, the golem didn’t go flying.”
“Tha- that’s right, there would be no wa–”
“Its head was pulverized.”
When she kicked it, it didn’t go flying, but when she jumped and then swung her heel down, its head was pulverized.
When we saw it from up close, our jaws dropped and wouldn’t close.
It was as if the Golem was made out of fake rock.
It walked on two legs like a human and moved slowly, but even the capital’s ramparts wouldn’t be able to withstand more than a few dozen blows.
It was a formidable enemy with a lot of strength.
Normally, we would use blunt weapons to fight it.
Yet, the Commander defeated it by swinging her heel down on it.
“Ah, a ‘Heel Drop Kick,’ huh.”
Alice calmly named the technique.
I had a feeling that she had more surprises.
So that technique was called a “Heel Drop Kick”.
The people around us were petrified like the Golems, and stared at Alice in surprise. As I watched them prepare the arena, I pondered the future of my sister, who was willingly walking down the path of a martial artist even though she should just be a maid, and I sighed.
Claude, hurry up and turn Alice into a woman…
To be continued
I’ve made you wait.
How was chapter 26?
This time, I included the Aiden family’s backstory, and elaborated on Chie’s combat style.
I personally liked Stupid Swordsman, because he’s always bumbling, so I wanted to show him some more.
I think the next one will also be late, but please take care of me as always.
Also, please inform me if there are any typos, since I uploaded it right after I finished.
There’s probably a lot of them.