Chapter 27 – Preliminaries, Final Day (Part 2)
Waiting Room (Chie POV)
After the match with Stupid Swordsman, I returned to the waiting room.
When I entered the room, I saw Celes and Long Blue-haired Ikemen getting ready for the next match.
“Oh, you’ve returned.”
Long Blue-haired Ikemen called out to me as he readied his bow.
He normally acted as if he was on holiday.
However, the serious expression he was making now could not be compared to what he normally looked like when he was about to go into town to pick up women.
Even so, that was understandable since, in a way, these matches determined who the best commander was.
It was no surprise that he felt tense.
All the other commanders in the room were similarly affected.
They normally chatted amiably with each other, but currently, they were silent.
That was why Long Blue-haired Ikemen didn’t say anything else after greeting me.
“Archer Corps Commander, Spear Corps Commander, please head to the arena.”
The soldier on duty broke the silence in the waiting room.
Blue Long-haired Ikemen and Celes both stood up and left.
Now then, shall I watch the match unfold on the big, 1 meito-wide crystal?
A magician had cast a clairvoyance spell on it.
During military operations, the spell was used to reconnoiter an area.
Since it didn’t consume much magic power, it could be sustained for a long time.
Of course, that was based off of the average magician, who had a lot of magic power.
To the general populace, it was a high-rank light attribute spell.
Now, let’s see what the next match is like.
＊＊＊＊＊＊＊＊＊＊ (Adolf POV)
I, Adolf Addinsell, was facing off against my opponent, Celestia Avary.
I put on a calm facade, but on the inside, I was in a cold sweat.
At any rate, my opponent was Celestia.
For any of the vice-commanders other than Conrad, I could attack without entering their range, but such simplistic attacks would never land on any of the commanders.
Especially since Celestia was a spear-user.
This was a wide-open area, and I was also facing the Empire’s best spear user, who wielded the spear as if it were an extension of her body.
I wondered how I should attack her.
“Are the two of you ready?”
The referee asked.
We both nodded silently in response.
We raised our weapons.
At the signal, Celes rushed forward with her wooden spear at her side.
I did a backflip and cast a spell.
Dozens of pillars, about 6 meitos tall, formed in the arena.
They were the same pillars I had used as cover during the Archer Corps battles.
However, in a place where movement was limited, like the arena grounds, they served a different purpose.
Case in point…
“Kuh! I can’t just charge in as I please like this!!”
Since she had such a long weapon, I could seal her movements.
Moreover, we weren’t using our real weapons in the match, but wooden practice weapons instead.
She would be able to break through with her normal weapon, but in these circumstances, her movements were restricted.
I should have a slight advantage now.
We archers would be no match against any of the other corps, apart from the magicians, in a head-to-head battle.
Archers weren’t suited for close-quarters combat.
The Black Knight did not let that problem go unsolved, and suggested that we train our footwork.
I, who was used to shooting at game while moving, was confident in my footwork.
I couldn’t use my hands for punching, since the bow required two hands. If one hand was disabled, I would be rendered unable to use a bow and arrow.
It would be suicide to face Celestia in melee range, so I couldn’t afford to do that.
That was why ranged attacks were the only option.
I would have no chance of winning if I didn’t ambush her.
Since I was an archer, I didn’t have to incapacitate my opponent in order to win the match.
Just like in the Archer Corps preliminaries, we would win if we hit the head or the heart.
It might be cowardly, but that was how we archers fought.
I sent an arrow at Celestia.
She immediately defended with her spear and dashed directly at me.
On the other hand, I began to move while firing consecutive arrows and using the ice walls as cover.
Celes deftly avoided the arrows as she ran across the arena.
She had the advantage in physical strength.
Since I had a limited number of arrows, I had to recover them as I moved, while also planning my next action.
That was why I concealed my location with the walls, but it wasn’t a big advantage.
Rather, if she found me, the fight would be effectively over.
I tried to conceal my presence as much as I could, while still firing arrows at the areas where I predicted she would dodge to.
I attacked from as many different directions as I could to cover up my location.
Celestia continued to dodge my arrows.
Soon, we were both breathing heavily, and judging that it was the right time, I acted.
I had discretely created a stairwell of ice using Ice Block.
I climbed up the stairs, crouched down on a pillar of ice near Celestia, and nocked an arrow.
Since she should be wary of attacks coming from every side, she might not have thought of one coming from above.
I had avoided attacking from above and instead attacked from the sides for this purpose.
I had two reasons. First, I wanted to lower her awareness to attacks from above.
Second, it was an all-or-nothing gamble.
If she realized it, I wouldn’t be able to move, my location would be found, and I would be taken out in one hit.
However, if it did succeed, then I could land a hit on her head, deciding the match.
I took a deep breath, opened my eyes wide, and leapt off the pillar.
My shadow would be hidden by the pillar’s shadow, so I wouldn’t be given away by it.
‘(I got her!)’
I was certain my arrow would hit.
The arrow flew straight at Celestia.
She knocked the arrow away, smirked at me, and then threw her spear at me.
The spear struck me right in the stomach, and I was smashed into a pillar of ice. Just like that, the world went dark.
Aaah, Blue Long-haired Ikemen lost.
As I watched the match on the crystal, I broke into a grin, but it was hidden by my helmet.
His strategy wasn’t bad, but the current Celes wouldn’t be tricked by that.
That was because I had once gone on a bandit subjugation with only her. At that time, the bandits had also distracted her, tired her out, and shot at her from above.
That time, Celes hadn’t noticed.
However, I had. Before I had any time to think, I cut down the bandits around me and cast the ranged attack magic Dark Shot. The black ball smashed into the arrow that was aimed at Celes’ head.
Celes didn’t know what had happened at the time, and just defeated the remaining bandits around her.
The reason we killed them all was because of the atrocities they committed, so the order to subjugate and imprison had become an extermination request.
Well, since that time, in order to avoid making the same mistake twice, Celes has always been wary of archers.
That experience greatly influenced the result of the match, which ended in her victory.
As expected of a soldier. They made an effort to not make the same mistake twice.
When Blue Long-haired Ikemen lost consciousness, the pillars of ice disappeared, and the arena turned back to normal.
After the referee had announced the winner, the Ikemen was carried out on a stretcher.
Celes left the arena floor.
Soon after, she silently sat down on the couch and sighed heavily.
Unusually, she was fatigued.
It showed that Blue Long-haired Ikemen was that strong of an opponent.
Though they used the same tactics, comparing the Archer Corps Commander to the bandits was unthinkable.
From what I could see in the crystal, the Ikemen’s aim was accurate.
It took a lot of effort just to dodge his arrows.
Perhaps, if there had been even the slightest of openings, he would’ve taken advantage of it.
I guess that skill was truly fitting for the Commander of the Archer corp.
As I was thinking this, the soldier on duty came and left with Mr. Musclehead and Amy.
At any rate, after those two left, I started to feel a bit lonely.
If the participants of the matches weren’t taken to the medical ward, the winners would return to the waiting room, and the losers would head to the seats for military personnel.
Oh, Mr. Musclehead and Amy had arrived on the arena floor.
Now then, it was time to see what they had to show in the finals.
I, Brandon Adams, was about to face off against Amy Arnold.
I didn’t have my usual weapon on me.
I couldn’t afford to go easy either, since my opponent was a fellow commander.
On the other hand, it was good that I didn’t have a reason to hold back.
Against all of the vice-commanders other than Conrad, I had to hold back. However, it wasn’t the same against a Commander.
That was why I would use my original fighting style.
Honestly, I didn’t want to lose, but I also didn’t really want to win.
Especially against an eighteen year old girl.
“Now then, are you both ready?”
The referee asked.
“I don’t mind.”
We answered the referee.
Upon hearing the referee’s signal, I rushed forward.
I swung my fist down.
Amy created an elementless, transparent shield.
However, that wasn’t a problem.
It only held up for an instant.
The elementless shield was the weakest defensive spell there was.
It might be enough to withstand attacks from goblins, but not from me.
Even then, it still held up for an instant.
In that instant, Amy had put some distance between us.
Unlike other magicians, she could make use of that instant, and as I had expected-
“Oh Earth, capture him and seal his movements. Gnome Chain!!”
Without a moment’s delay, she cast an intermediate level Earth element spell to try to restrict my movements.
Earthen chains erupted from the ground and shot at me.
I avoided them and went back on the offensive.
While controlling the Gnome Chain spell, Amy cast an earth element defensive spell.
Judging from her personality, she was probably trying to stop my movements, so that I could no longer fight.
She didn’t go easy on fellow magicians, but when against those who fought with weapons or fists, she often tried to defeat them by immobilizing them.
For better or for worse, she was a gentle person.
Even when she knew it would be impossible, she didn’t attack until she absolutely needed to.
Sheesh, how tricky.
I continued my offense while dodging her Gnome Chain spell, and she continued to defend.
Eventually, Amy grew tired.
Amy erected a barrier of wind around her and began to chant.
I pounded the barrier while continuing to dodge the earthen chains.
As expected, an elemental shield was stronger.
I couldn’t break it easily.
As I continued attacking the barrier and dodging chains, Amy finished her chant and pointed her wand at me.
There was a flash of magic power.
The ground where I stood exploded with a deafening roar.
I detonated the highest level Fire element spell, creating a large explosion.
“I w-went a bit o-over…board…”
He had some protection, so he wouldn’t die, but it was still a crude solution.
I dispelled Sylph Shield and searched for Brandon-san.
He had probably been knocked out by that, though.
I heard a footstep behind me and turned around.
While wearing a sharp glare, Brandon, who I had thought was knocked out, was swinging his fist upwards.
“Eh? What happened?”
Celes was surprised.
The crystal screen was showing Mr. Musclehead’s fist, stopped right in front of a disarmed Amy’s face.
“Ah, you missed it, didn’t you?”
“What are you talking about?”
The sofa was quite far from the screen, so it was probably hard to see it clearly.
If I hadn’t been as close to the screen as I was, I wouldn’t have understood what had happened.
I doubted that the audience, or even the referee, who had left the arena after starting the match, knew what had happened either.
Thanks to the crystal screen, I had seen something, for only an instant.
“Mr. Musclehead dodged Amy’s explosion magic at the last second.”
“F-For real? In that short of a time frame!?”
Celes asked incredulously.
Hey, hey, haven’t you known each other for a long time now?
“Did you forget? Mr. Musclehead is fast., With his reflexes, it’s possible. Well, it’s not guaranteed that he could do it every time though. Of course, he didn’t get away unscathed, but as expected of the Fighter Corps Commander, he endured the damage.”
If they braced their bodies to their limit, then they would be able to just barely endure it.
“After this is just my conjecture, though. After dodging the spell, he hid in the cloud of dust and waited for Amy to dispel her Sylph Shield. As Amy searched for Mr. Musclehead, who she thought had fainted, he snuck behind her and hit her hand, making her let go of the wand, and stopped his fist right in front of her face. Well, it was probably something like that.”
Celes’ jaw dropped.
“That’s exactly right. What great reasoning, Black Knight.”
I turned towards the entryway and saw Mr. Musclehead. He was wearing a light brown mantle over a dark green gambeson, which was in tatters from the explosion.
His face and hair were completely covered in soot.
I looked back at the screen and saw that nobody was in the arena anymore.
Since the first three matches had finished, there would be an hour long intermission.
Having back-to-back matches would be hard, so there was a break in-between.
However, there was a more pressing matter.
“When did you return?”
Since I didn’t have to be alert here and I was immersed in the conversation, I didn’t notice his presence at all.
“I arrived when you said ‘From here on’.”
“I see. Even then, that was a bit fast, wasn’t it?”
I shrugged and laughed it off.
“I’m tired from the match with Amy. Also, don’t call me Mr. Musclehead.”
He plopped down on an unoccupied sofa.
So these were the strongest two Commanders.
Well, the other three weren’t weak.
I wouldn’t lose to them in either power or speed, but I was worried about whether I could keep my calm, since I had less experience than they did.
Ah, I was feeling nervous. I decided to take a short walk outside.
I left those two behind and took a deep breath of fresh air.
(TL: Deep breath)
Two more matches. You can do it, me!!
To be continued
How was Chapter 27?
I’m a lot less busy now, so I updated faster.
This time, I put two matches in one chapter. Did it work out okay?
I don’t know when the next update will be, but please continue to read this story.
Well, the author has picked up their writing/releasing speed. As of the time of me writing this, there have been 4 consecutive weekly chapters. Also, the tournament arc will end at Chapter 36. Still a long way to go…