|Original Source: Syosetu
|Word Count: 3768 characters
|English Source: Re:Library
|Word Count: 1636 words
We’re having lunch at the cafeteria when a shadow falls upon our table. I look up and see a large person with a tiger face looking at us.
“So this is where you were, Olivia!”
“Sir Godwin? It’s been a while.”
“Mhm, it has been indeed!”
I guess it’s someone Olivia knows.
“He’s Mathias’ father.” Olivia whispers to me, seeing my confusion.
I see, so this is Mathias’ father. I knew Mathias was a half beast, but from what I can tell his father is a full on tiger demihuman.
“Sorry to interrupt your meal, but could you come with me, quick.”
Olivia struggles to understand what’s happening and just tilts her head in confusion. We just finished eating though, and as far as I know Mathias’ father is supposed to be a viscount, so it’s best if we do as he tells us.
I signal at Olivia to stand up, and she nods.
“Got it, let’s go.”
Olivia and I get up and follow Godwin. He takes us to the arena where the tournament is happening, though it seems it’s already over and the winner is being announced.
‘Everyone, please welcome with a round of applause to the winner of this years’ tournament, Mathias Feullade!’
Thunderous clapping erupts from the audience after that.
So Mathias won this year, huh. Wait what? But I thought Mathias would get transferred to the military right after graduating, so he doesn’t really have a reason to participate in the tournament?
As I think of that, I see that Mathias is looking at me from the stage. Actually no, he’s looking here, but not at me.
‘Everyone, listen to me!’ Everyone falls silent when he says that, his voice amplified with magic. ‘I took part in this tournament to put my skills to the test, as I’m about to graduate this year! I ended up finishing in first place, but I’m not satisfied yet!’
I could almost feel the air shift when he said that.
‘And that’s because my biggest and strongest rival, who I’ve known since my first year here, didn’t participate in the tournament! I’m sure there’s a lot of you who were also hoping to see her!’
The crowd began to mutter, dividing into two groups. One trying to understand what Mathias was saying, and the other that shared his sentiment.
Soon there were some who could not contain themselves anymore.
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“Yeahh! Why didn’t she participate?!”
“Come out here!”
“I only participated to fight against her!”
There were more and more people who complained about ‘her’. Suddenly I notice a light blue ponytail in a corner of the group, it’s Marize. She’s also complaining about the tournament.
‘Exactly! Winning this tournament means nothing without her participation! So while this might be a bit arbitrary, I’d like to have a proper fight here!’ Mathias points straight at Olivia. ‘Olivia Eto Gardeland, I want to fight you again, and without holding back!’
He finally named who he was talking about. It was Olivia, who stood next to me.
‘If you want to honor this challenge, then step forth!’
The crowd quickly becomes silent again. There was little they could do after the sudden announcement by the winner of the tournament.
I turn to look at Olivia, but realize it’s best I don’t say anything. She looks like she’s already made a decision, so I shouldn’t interfere.
Other than me, a large part of the crowd has also turned to look at her.
She slowly starts to move ahead, going down the rows of seats as she starts to pick up speed, eventually becoming a full on run before she leaps above the rails and lands on the arena.
‘What’s this? A new challenger has entered the arena in response to the winner! What a strange turn of events! But I believe this is just what me and all of you were waiting for! The organizers have also given their approval, so as Mathias requested, the true match to decide the winner is about to commence!’
After the commentator’s announcement, a deafening barrage of cheers came from the audience.
“That’s surprising. I never thought I’d get an invitation like that from you, it doesn’t seem like something you’d do at all.”
Mathias had always prided himself in following rules and making sure they were followed, so it was hard to imagine he would address such a large crowd while making a selfish request.
“I’m not the only one doing surprising things though. I was sure you’d be in the tournament. That’s not like you at all, though I guess you’re aware of that?”
We both stare at each other as we talk for a bit.
“Why did you not participate though? I thought you really wanted to face a challenge.”
“Mmm, maybe I’m just overthinking things, but I feel like every time I want to take part in the tournament something bad happens. And it’s not like they wanted me to participate the first time either, so I figured I’d just give up on it.”
In my first year Natalia fell unconscious for a long time, and last year the Rufus attacked on the day of the tournament. It really feels like every time I want to take part something bad happens. I still want to try fighting someone strong, including the other students at the Academy, but if that causes trouble for others then maybe I should just give up.
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“Anyway, just to make sure, you accepted the challenge since you came here to the arena, right?”
“Of course! There’s no way I’d refuse after you invited me like that!”
“Thanks for accepting! I’ve been waiting to fight you without having to hold back!”
We both hold our fists up and charge our mana. Sparks begin to jump out from my fists, while his produce an icy fog.
‘Get ready… Start!’
As soon as the fight starts, he shoots a barrage of ice pellets at me, which I block with a tornado of lightning. However, that was merely a greeting; moments later, we both start running at each other.
“Sparkling Lightning Shock!”
The incoming spear of ice tears apart the lightning in my fist as it flies through. I try to dodge to the side, but the ice still grazes my shoulder. Without missing a beat, I continue running and throw a punch.
Mathias quickly raises his arms to block, but I punch again with my other arm, managing to break his defenses. However, my hits don’t seem to inflict much damage.
“Sparkling Lightning Discharge!”
A violent rain of ice falls from above, which I focus on blocking. Mathias uses this distraction to his advantage. While my attention is directed upwards, he executes a perfect leg sweep, knocking me off balance. Before I fall, I catch myself with both hands, engage my core, and start spinning with my legs extended.
Mathias jumps back, and as soon as he lands, multiple large icicles emerge from the ground. Using my hands for leverage, I propel myself backward, forming a fist in the air to strike the pursuing icicles.
“Sparkling Quick Fang!”
After tearing through the icicle below me, I hit the ground and imbue it with charged lightning, which spreads like sharp fangs, shattering the line of icicles.
He tries to dodge, but one of the lightning bolts grazes his face, leaving a red streak on his cheek. Yet, I’m not done. I quickly dash forward.
A wall like this won’t stop me! I punch through the ice wall and strike Mathias, who is hiding behind it. Then his body shatters into a thousand pieces.
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“An ice clone?!”
A strong gust of wind sends me soaring into the air as my body starts to freeze. I use lightning and fire magic to warm myself and shake off the ice, making a smooth landing.
“Is that all you’ve got?”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m asking if that’s really all you have. I told you I wanted to fight without holding back, and you agreed. So why haven’t you freed yourself from your own magic?”
My own magic—something I almost subconsciously engage in. I constantly burn myself with fire and lightning, freeze myself with water and ice, cut myself with wind magic, and crush myself with gravity magic. But I also instantly heal those wounds with healing magic. This is a training method my father taught me, allowing my body and magic to improve concurrently. He advised me to continue this practice until adulthood, and I’ve been doing so my entire life.
“Is that really how you see me?! Am I just a training dummy to you?! Was I so deluded in thinking we were actual rivals for these past three years?”
“You’re right; I haven’t been fighting properly. I apologize.”
Mathias said he wanted to fight against me, holding nothing back. And I am still operating under the constraints of my self-imposed magical limits; I’m far from operating at full power.
This isn’t an exam where I have to demonstrate what I’ve learned; this is a real fight, exactly what Mathias wants. If he’s not holding back, then he won’t be an easy opponent. I can’t afford to continue like this; I need to unleash my full potential.
I cease all use of fire, lightning, water, ice, wind, gravity, and healing magic. The power I had been allocating for these spells is now freed up for other purposes, making my body feel incredibly light. It’s been years since I’ve felt this way.
Now I can focus all my attention, strength, and magic onto my opponent. I clench my fists and step in front of him.
“This time, I won’t hold back1!”