Chapter 24 The Start of the Match
When I went out of the waiting room and climbed up the ring, I noticed the atmosphere of the audience today was very different compared to yesterday.
I guess it’s probably because there were a lot of knights watching this match, right? They looked like a bed of roses placed in one part of the stage.
There was also a group of red fully armored people lined up, and every one of them was holding a trumpet and a red flag, so I was thinking that they might do a performance before the game started.
On the luxurious spot, positioned higher than everyone else, there was a crystal ball the size of a basketball at its center, and I was wondering what it was.
There were an uncle and an aunt wearing highly luxurious clothes near it. There were also a lot of knights guarding them so they were probably important guests.
None of them was wearing a crown though, so the king is not there, probably.
「I see, so is this why Ornica said that? 」
The person I am going to fight finally got on the ring. Did Ornica say something about me?
However, the person who stood before me doesn’t really look like a knight commander or a sly person like I have expected. He even looks younger than what I have thought. This person had a bright and good looking face, blonde hair and blue eyes, leaving the impression of a gentleman.
The audience was shouting about knight commander-sama, making a fanfare, and even the female part of the knights joined in on the clamor as he reached close to the center of the stage.
「With this, the match is about to start!」
Looking at the knight-sama, he took a position where he stood at attention with one hand on his chest. Is it like what they do in pre-sports event pledges… Maybe I should do it too?
First of all, what was it again? I can’t remember the Knight Captain-sama’s name. If I wasn’t mistaken, it should be Vani… Vanilla? No, it was close to Vanilla Milk.
「Vanil Mirth Crown!」
Ah yes, that, it was Vanil Mirth.
I was surprised when my name was called. I see, so they were going to announce our names here.
「Thank you for taking part in this battle tournament, now before we start the match, his majesty the king will be giving us his message, let us all listen eagerly!」
Eh, King-sama? Where? I didn’t see anyone who looked like a king though. Is that it? Well Vanil Mirth-sama was kneeling. Eh? Should I do that too?
Ah, that’s right, he was a Knight, it’s probably what soldiers do, I guess I don’t have to follow since I’m not really one.
When I was thinking about what to do, a fifty-something year old uncle with a magnificent bear was projected on the crystal ball which I was thinking about what it was used for.
He was sitting on a luxurious throne and there was a crown adorned on his head.
He looked like a kind yet strict uncle with a mix of majesty. Besides that was the calculating expression he had on his face.
I see, so the king wasn’t able to come here directly, or maybe it was just for security reasons, since the security on the arena isn’t really tight.
「I am overjoyed to have our country’s festival be held peacefully this year. This is all due to every one of you people doing your best, and all your proper cooperation…… at for that I want to offer you all my thanks. And then to the participants, Toto」
Eh, why was I called, I didn’t do anything bad you know. Probably.
「I am asking you this, it has been a few years since Vanil Mirth has reigned winner in this arena, if you are able to, please do your best in order to win」
「Hau, will do my best!!」
The King waved at me after showing a wink. There’s only one think I thought of when seeing a King like this.
（He doesn’t act like a King at all, isn’t he a little too friendly? ）
It probably is. Well, for the people of the capital, this is probably just a normal scene, and at the moment that I’ve responded, everyone also broke out in a large cheer.
Immediately after that, the knights calmed down the audience in order for the king to continue.
「Vanil Mirth-dono, I am also expecting a fight that wouldn’t make the knights of this kingdom be ashamed of this year.」
A loud cheering once again erupted but was immediately put down by the knights.
「That is all from his majesty, now participants, fight with everything you’ve got and show us the strength of a champion without anything to regret!」
When the female knight announcer said so, he stood up, unsheathe his sword and made a cross slash towards the sky.
I wonder if there’s no standard for sword length here, it looks like a sword bigger than a one-handed sword but smaller than a two-handed one and could be used one-handed style or two-handed style.
I also noticed that a lot of people prefer not using a shield, like in yesterday’s matches. I wonder if it’s not that popular.
With Vanil Mirth-san fixing his stance, I also prepared and took a fighting pose gripping my fists, and then the referee raises his hand. Ah, I see, so this time we don’t need to be introduced.
「Start the Match!!」
The bell has been rung but the two of us were standing still, not moving to attack. It seems like Vanil Mirth-san is also trying to read into what I will be doing, so the two of us were only staring at each other.
How can I find an opening in this point, if only I could understand what that person was thinking? I wonder if I should attack first since I can’t really attack from range. I’ll just probably run to get closer.
◇Third Person PoV――――――
Vanil Mirth was thinking what to do, since the opponent in front of him looks just like an ordinary child.
Of course, if Toto was wearing armor and carried a weapon, he might not get confused and would even consider her a genius《Genius》, because such geniuses exist, with him being one of them.
（Is it fine for me to attack）
Though Ornica did told me about her winning the semifinals, but I didn’t really know anything about how Toto fights. Another thing is her appearance, not wearing armor is making her look more like an ordinary child.
（I could feel a massive amount of magic power contained within her though. Is she a magician?）
But Vanil Mirth is a person who wouldn’t regret not having such information, and while he was thinking about how the girl’s mind worked, and he lightly relaxed his stance and smiled to the unknown threat.
After that Toto rushed in. It was a natural choice considering her main way of combat. She had little choice beside closing in to deliver an attack due to her fighting style.
（First is to check the reaction. How will an S Rank react）
Knowing the probability of a counter attack, instead of jumping straight to attack just like what she did before, she headed straight below him feinting to aim at his torso while preparing to jump back at any moment.
（It was good that I got trained by my mom to fix my awkward movements, there will only be two results for this attack, either avoid, or block and counter）
（How fast, if it’s like this, then she certainly has considerable physical power……）
The moment Toto rushed towards him, he was surprised for a bit, but he immediately tried to calm down and reacted by countering with his sword, but the result was not something he expected. Toto brushed off the counter and moved away.
「Almost got me」
Laughing as she answered back, Toto looked even more like a child playing around, but Vanil Mirth had somewhat grasped Toto’s ability.
（I see, having that massive magical power improves her physical ability, she certainly would be able to deploy something on the same level as solid armor, so it should be fine even if she acts a bit reckless）
Having grasped a bit of her features, Vanil Mirth this time moved to offense and started attacking aggressively.
First is a basic light swing, then powerful horizontal and vertical slashes and some even faster than the eye can see, but Toto was able to successfully evade and backed away.
Vanil Mirth continued the pursuit and the chain of attacks, but with Toto’s strong dynamic vision and speed, she was able to evade all of his attacks.
Then as their gazes cross each other, Vanil Mirth instantly twisted the handle of his sword and delivered a quick strike from the side which looked like a powerful horizontal slash.
Toto tried to avoid by squatting down but the sword’s movement stopped halfway and headed straight for her.
『Toto, you can do it, you don’t have to forcibly stop the assault, for example』
I remember my mom’s teachings. She told me that I have to make use of my strong dynamic vision. Although I would need a 《Shield》, I have to do it barehanded.
The moment the sword was dropped straight towards me from above, I immediately decided to accept the attack with my arm blocking the trajectory of the sword.
I was overwhelmed for a moment, but I somehow managed to deflect it.
After I successfully defended by blocking the sword, I made a slight back step to open the distance between us.
Again, I was cut! I was wounded!!
Looking at the damage, it’s not as much as the damage I received from Benihana-san, but the cut was slightly deeper and I was bleeding.
It was an amazing attack, and it reminded me of a sensation I felt when I accidentally cut my finger with a kitchen knife.
And now I once again notice that it seems my body also can tolerate pain.
In this case, at first I was thinking of holding back my power just like in my past battles, but now I feel different. My worries from before have now disappeared, as if I don’t need to worry about it anymore.
Also from this point on, while I don’t have problems blocking but I will definitely get hurt if I continue receiving that sword attack, and his attacks would definitely get stronger compared than what I received on my arm received before.
「I was thinking that you would have a strong defense, but I didn’t expect that you would be able to actually deflect my sword」
That’s what Vanil Mirth said but somehow he now looked even happier about it. Ah he looked like he completely lost it. Hey this guy is acting weird, somebody help me.
「Will, will be serious from now on」
「Yeah, that’s right, I am also more motivated now」
Vanil Mirth stretched a bit and swung his sword in a circle, and then took a stance again.
At the moment, it was not yet a big deal so I took a short breath to calm myself down and prepared to continue.