|Author: Himezaki Shiu||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: PunishedLyly||English Source: Re:Library|
『I see that you packed a lot into that magic circle.』
『Yup, it’s really interesting; how you can put so many conditions into it. I was relieved that I somehow added no-killing as a condition.』
『I’m happy that you were satisfied with the results. By the way, it looks like fighting without depending on the barrier seems difficult.』
『Fighting a D-Rank hunter without any preparations seems to be impossible. All I could do was dodge him after all. Though it would be fine if I could at least prepare something in advance.』
『Well, although I did make you do this, I don’t believe that you fighting without a barrier is something that would occur frequently.』
『Fufu, naturally. But you don’t need to push yourself if it gets difficult, okay Ain?』
Maybe it’s because she was able to do something she wanted to or perhaps she just feels refreshed after beating up Alejo, Ciel is now in a good mood. Rather, it might only be that, no matter how bad her mood is, she cheers up when talking with me. Even back at the mansion, there were a few times when Ciel got in a bad mood but it was never directed at me.
I considered alluding to the fact that she snapped in the middle of the fight and ended up relying on my barrier, but if I limit her that much then she probably wouldn’t win. So, well, I’ll let it slide.
After all, I only wanted to know the gap between Ciel’s current unenhanced physical strength and the strength of a D-Rank hunter. If it didn’t seem like she would win, then there’s no need to push it. Rather, I don’t think that situations where Ciel, a Sorcerer-type, battles head-on against a full-on vanguard axe-user will happen that much at all.
Now then, for now, since I believe that this is a win, I borrowed Ciel’s body and looked at Carol.
Likely noticing my gaze, Carol, who had been staring at me —or rather the magic circle by my feet— finally gave an announcement, 「The match has ended.」
After that, she went out of this stadium-like place and brought a few guild staff —or maybe just some nearby hunters— back with her. The people following her were startled after seeing the bloodied Alejo on the floor and then shot a questioning glance at Carol.
I see. They’re likely thinking that Carol caused this disaster. Certainly, it’s more convincing than thinking that I —Ciel— did it.
And then they looked at me with a confused look, but come to think of it my hair is still hidden. Considering that, Carol probably noticed it with how much we moved, so I don’t think I need to keep the hood up anymore. After saying something to the people, Carol walks up to me.
「With this, you can now start as an E-Rank hunter.」
「Yes, thank you very much.」
「My, you don’t seem that happy about it. Well, it’s hard to feel a sense of accomplishment after winning while barely using your full strength, right?」
「No, it was really difficult, you know?」
「There’s no use in hiding it. Nobody that can use a magic circle like that would ever lose to a D-Ranker after all. At that level, you could’ve instantly killed him if you wanted to, right? 」
『Ciel, would you mind if I ask you something?』
『What is it, Ain?』
『Showing our full power to a certain extent and quickly aiming for B-Rank, or hiding our strength and steadily working towards being a B-Rank. Which would you prefer?』
『Once we become B-Rank, we’ll stand out whether we like it or not, right? Then, there’s no need to hide our strength, is there?』
Since it felt like Carol was probing into us, I pretended to think and had a quick strategy meeting with Ciel. Our topic, whether to stand out or not. In conclusion, be at B-Rank even if we stand out a bit. And with that said, I think that we’ll display our strength with just a little flare.
「It takes some time to perform sorcery, so instantly is impossible, you know?」
「Well that’s true.」
「So Ms. Carol, what do you want me to do?」
「I want to see your real sorcery. After all, for someone like you who has at least hunted two B-rank monsters, there’s no way that was all you had. But, well, even just this magic circle is enough to use as research material, but I’m absolutely sure that there’s more than this!」
Seeing Carol suddenly high in spirits, I was overwhelmed. Maybe she’s one of the so-called geeks. It seems that even though I’m in a different world, there are still similar people. In that case, I hope that the entertainment here is well developed too.
「Two B-Rank monsters? What do you mean?」
「You have the magic stone of a B-Rank monster, right? I’m also a bit curious about what you plan to do with it.」
「By B-Rank, do you mean this?」
Suddenly realizing something, I took out the one-eyed giant’s magic stone and after showing it to Carol she replied, 「That.」
In the end we defeated it in an instant, but there’s no denying that it was all thanks to the combined power of the Song Princess and Dance Princess, two Princess Jobs. On the other hand, being a B-Rank monster means that the strength of a B-Rank hunter or more is needed to defeat it, but I really feel that my barrier is getting out of hand for being able to endure that monster’s attack.
Though at this point, I’m honestly much more curious about how far it can go rather than the practicality.
「If that’s true, then I did defeat a B-Rank monster. But there isn’t any merits for me even if I show you my real sorcery, right?」
「The fact that I mediated your battle… is what I’d like to say, in your case, even without me mediating, Alejo wasn’t really a problem. Rather, I was the one that limited you. So, in exchange for showing me your sorcery, how does a formal match with me sound to you? If you win, I’ll convince the guild that you passed the B-Rank Exam.」
「Can you prove that you can keep your promise?」
「You heard my conversation with Celia, right? For my own reasons, I did it without any favors.」
「You “asked” to do this, right?」
「The test to become B-Rank is to have a hunter of B-Rank and above to acknowledge your strength. And if you clear the test itself, which is to make me, a hunter ranked B or higher, to recognize your strength, then I just need to do something about the test schedule. Also, if you have a match with me, I’ll look after you until you reach D-Rank. Your strength itself is probably already about B-Rank, but it’s not as if you only need to be strong to raise your hunter rank after all. If you want to rank up fast, asking instruction from you senior is the best.」
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After asking Carol a few more questions, I consider whether we can trust her or not.
Accepting the challenge would come with the demerit of revealing our strength more than in the previous battle. However, the extent to which we showcase our abilities is within our control.
On the other hand, the merit of accepting the challenge is that we can gauge the strength of a high-ranking hunter. Judging from Alejo’s reaction, I am certain that she is at least a C-Rank or higher. Using this as our baseline, it’s highly probable that Carol is a B-Ranker. If she is willing to assist us afterwards, there’s no reason to reject the offer.
『Personally, with some conditions, I think it’s fine to accept it, but what do you think?』
『By conditions, you mean?』
『Which Job’s ability to use, I guess? At the very least, I would like to hide the fact that we have two Jobs. It might be best to limit the Dance Princess’ power to the point that it’s mistaken as only chant-less sorcery. After holding back that much, I’m not sure if we can still win; but if it becomes too much, please switch with me.』
『No. Fighting is my role, you know?』
If anything ever happens, being known as a Song Princess rather than a Dance Princess is much more convenient to avoid Duke Rispelgia, but I can’t disregard Ciel’s feelings. And most of all, I’m also the one who suggested that we stick to our roles. Me disregarding that won’t leave a good impression on Ciel.
『I understand. However, please fight in a way that won’t make them realize that you are a Dance Princess. In exchange, if the barrier is fine, then I don’t mind if you rely on it.』
Since we’ve decided, I tell Carol 「I’ll do it.」
Though I did tell Ciel that it’s fine to rely on my barrier, there’s no assurance that Carol wouldn’t destroy it. I can only pray that she won’t attack us with something that strong. Seemingly delighted by my answer, Carol almost skips lightly towards the center of the dome.
「By the way, is it okay for me to keep this barrier up?」
「Well, it’s your second round after all; I’ll treat that as one of my handicaps.」
「Then thank you for your consideration. And I’m sorry if I don’t meet your expectations.」
「Nuh-uh. For me, I already had enough new material. Still, people become more and more indulgent when they see easy success.」
Well, I do understand how you feel, but having such a mindset may lead to greater disappointment if the results don’t meet your expectations. However, since our task is simply to engage in a battle, don’t complain about how we fulfill that request.
「Well, enough with the minor details, let’s do it. The moment this knife lands on the floor, the battle starts. Is that good?」
Throwing a knife around sounds dangerous to me, but there aren’t any convenient branches or rocks laying around, so maybe for Carol the knife is just the right thing to throw.
Since we’re about to fight, I should stop making weird quips now. While Carol is putting some distance between us, I switch with Ciel and leave the battle to her. As the two of them faced each other, Carol chucks the knife high into the air.
As the knife landed after a few seconds of airtime, I detected an overwhelming number of magic power reactions emerge in front of us. In my line of sight, I observed numerous ice arrows hanging in the air, all pointed towards us. While it would ultimately depend on the strength of each individual arrow, I believe that my barrier would be able to withstand all of them. However, Carol is probably aware of this as well. Hence, there may be more to these arrows than meets the eye.
As Ciel prepared to move, a barrage of arrows was fired towards us. However, instead of being launched in quick succession to restrict our movement, they were shot in a straight line and promptly vanished upon contact with the spherical barrier. While Ciel remained protected, she attempted to evade Carol’s attack, but the arrows continued to pursue her relentlessly.
Each arrow struck with a force similar to Alejo’s previous attack, which was concerning. Despite this, Carol appeared unfazed even though the arrows did not reach Ciel.
In other words, Carol is likely intentionally targeting the weak spots in the barrier. Barrier sorcery involves creating a wall of magic power to fend off attacks, but the barrier’s durability can vary, resulting in inconsistencies. Thus, the barrier can have strong and weak points.
Carol’s arrows are accurately striking these weak spots. There was the matter with the magic stone before too, so I think that her ability to sense magic power is considerably high.
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Likely understanding that running is meaningless, Ciel stops on her tracks and begins drawing something on the ground. As though to prevent her from doing it, the amount and force behind the arrows increase; finally something cracked and the barrier collapsed.
Oh, heya~! Lyly here, and it seems like there’s just one problem after another! Still, it seems like our examiner is a bit of a research geek and just can’t control herself in front of a real juicy research sample. Also, it seems like a sorcerer is a better match for our two princesses, being that they are self-trained sorcerers.
Now then, feel free to comment and I wish you have an enjoyable read!