|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2811 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1221 words|
After that, Barbaros continued his act by surveying the audience in an exaggerated manner. I knew from the start what his objective was, fighting against us, but he still felt the need to pretend he decided on us randomly. When his sight finally stopped on us, he pointed straight towards us, though instead of me, he was looking at Luvias.
“Hero Luvias of Bordaule, do you want to have a match against me? I think this will be a good opportunity to show the people how strong the heroes from each country are.”
Why did he point at Luvias instead of me? I still could not understand how his brain worked. We did not even know Luvias that time we roughed him up, so why did he point at someone unrelated to the incident? Still, Luvias turned to me, her eyes expecting me to give permission or not like a puppy waiting for orders.
“Master, I want to accept, but is that okay?”
“You should ask for details on the match first. If you’ll both fight alone then there should be no need for us to be around, though you should always watch out for foul play.”
Luvias then stood up, looking at Barbaros calmly as she spoke slowly, accepting the daring challenge.
“I don’t mind going for a match, but this was still a bit unexpected. Can I ask for clarification on some points then?”
“Of course, go ahead.”
“Then, are we going to fight one-on-one without anyone else getting in the way? And what are the conditions to win or lose? I’d like to make that clear.”
Barbaros shrugged as if those were very simple matters. The way he looked down on everyone always ticked me off.
“Of course the matches will be one-on-one, though there’s still an order to be decided.”
“Yes, my party consists of four members, as does yours. In other words, this will be a small tournament. The first ones fighting will be you and me, the heroes, then we’ll decide who goes next.”
He appeared quite confident in his skill. I found that amazing in its own right, considering everything he went through before, though strength was the only thing that could decide the outcome of a fight. As far as that went, I could hardly imagine someone who lost to Karin back then could stand a chance against Luvias. I still could not comprehend what gave him the idea he could win now.
“Also, the winner will be decided by who can render the opponent unable to fight. Whether it be through losing conscience, bearing serious wounds, or giving up. I assume you have no issues with those three ways? Having something stupid like a referee would only get in the way after all.”
“…That sounds good to me. I accept your challenge.”
“I’m pleased to hear that, but that’s Bordaule’s hero for you! Thank you for accepting my request. Your Imperial Highness, Lady Luvias has agreed to the match as well, so can we start now?”
“Go ahead. Show them your might.”
Hearing that, Barbaros smiled happily as he bowed to him, his eyes about to reveal his true intentions.
§ § §
As our party headed down to the parade ground, the four of us discussed in what order we would fight. Luvias’ first turn was set in stone, but we still had to decide how the other three of us would go.
“If Lapis goes second, that’ll be the end of the tournament. But we’ve come so far away from home that I’d like to show off a bit before that.”
“Me too, I’m so bored I need to get some exercise done.”
“Alright…I guess I’ll have to go last then.”
Then again, there was a chance Karin and Ciel would not need to fight depending on Luvias’ performance. If Barbaros was the same as before then the match would be over before it started, and even if he was stronger, Luvias’ extensive training was nothing to be taken lightly. Either way, we would win.
After we decided the order, Luvias and Barbaros unsheathed their swords and faced each other. Since there was no referee to give a signal, the match had technically started, a tense atmosphere particular to fights filling the entire place.
“Come at me whenever you want.”
“Let’s go then!”
Barbaros relinquished the first move, letting Luvias charge at him. Things looked well, she was acting just like during any practice match before. She held her sword above her head, ready to swing it down for the first strike, but Barbaros sidestepped the attack. He attempted to counterattack from there, but his sword was stopped midway by Luvias’ blade.
For a moment it looked like a contest of strength, but Barbaros kicked upwards to break that up, which Luvias avoided by leaping back and standing ready. Luvias charged ahead again while Barbaros jumped back while unleashing magic at her. She dismantled all of it with her sword, continuously inching closer to him, but Barbaros seemed annoyed by that as he kept jumping back.
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“She has a magic sword? Cutting through magic like that.”
“She’s the hero of a large country, a magic sword is just par for the course.”
The audience began commenting about the fight, though Luvias’ sword was obviously not a magic sword. She was using a mithril sword with a high magic transmission property, and she was simply imbuing her own magic power into it to cut through magic. Her ability to control magic was still below Karin’s, but the sword’s properties made it much easier.
They seemed to be playing a game of catch, and when the audience was starting to get tired, Barbaros finally planted his feet and stopped. Luvias felt something was going to come so she also stopped.
“Well well, you truly are strong. You got to be a hero after all.”
“…Thanks. But you should try a bit harder, you don’t want to look bad in front of your emperor do you?”
In a roundabout way, Luvias was egging him to stop running and start fighting, to which Barbaros responded with the annoying smile I had seen before.
“Don’t worry, I was just testing your skills a bit, the actual match will start shortly. Also, there’s no shame if you lose instantly, I’m simply too strong.”
“What are you-”
Before Luvias could finish, the air surrounding Barbaros seemed to change drastically. The muscles on his arms and legs swelled up with a disgusting sound, his entire body frame appearing to grow. His eyes and hair followed shortly by changing color, making him look like an entirely different person in an instant. To top it all off, an evil presence surrounded him, just like a monster. His opponent Luvias, Karin, Ciel, and the rest of the heroes all seemed shocked at that transformation.
“Wh-what is that…”
“This is the secret ace of our country. An ability to strengthen not only one’s body but also mind and reflexes many times over. The secret art of strengthening. Though, you can tell me exactly how much stronger this is later from your experience.”
Luvias took a step back feeling the welling up strength, and Barbaros seemed to sneer and disdain her as he kicked off the ground.
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