Nice weather today as well.
Bathing in the refreshing morning sunlight, Toto was sleeping as if it felt nice. Seriously, this guy is always sleeping.
“What a pain…” (Makoto)
Within this, my heart was covered in a thick cloud like that of bad weather.
“Makoto-san, are you really okay?”
“Yeah, I am okay.” (Makoto)
I wave my hand at Yuichi who was worried at me, but Yuichi’s face didn’t show signs of clearing up.
“As I said so many times already, it is not the fault of you guys.” (Makoto)
No matter how many times I tell them not to worry, they don’t listen. At the side of Yuichi, there’s also Kusuhara who is making an apologetic face, and Katsuragi and Asagi were both making worried expressions.
“I can’t win anyways, so I will just do whatever and lose. No need to worry. Also, they are blunt swords, so there’s no danger of getting heavy injuries.” (Makoto)
“Even if that’s the case, it would still injure you if it were to hit.” (Yuichi)
“Well, it is too late to do anything about that, right?” (Makoto)
The duel will begin soon after.
The time that was told to me yesterday was tomorrow in the afternoon, and the place will be the first training field.
“Why…Why can you be so calm?” (Yuichi)
“Hmm, probably because I have simply given up?” (Makoto)
“As I thought, this is just weird. I will go to them right now and—” (Yuichi)
“Okay, stop there. I have been telling you that no matter what you tell them, it is pointless this late in the game.” (Makoto)
Yuichi may see me as being calm, but I honestly -from the bottom of my heart- don’t care about this event. But Yuichi is not mature enough to be able to accept that. My physical age is not that different from them, but in terms of mental age, I am several hundred years old, so I am already ripe in this kind of scenarios.
“Now now, you guys should return to your seats.” (Makoto)
“Good grief. Kusuhara, I am counting on you.” (Makoto)
While thinking about how unexpectedly stubborn he is, I ask for the help of his childhood friend.
“Kamiuchi-san, at least don’t be reckless, okay?” (Miki)
“I have no intentions to do that. I don’t wanna get hurt after all.” (Makoto)
“Yuichi, let’s go.” (Miki)
Yuichi looked like he is still not convinced, but Kusuhara urged him on and bowed saying ‘Excuse us’, and walked off with him. Yuichi looked back several times as if he still wanted to say something. This guy really makes me worry for the future.
“And so, will you two not go?” (Makoto)
“We will~.” (Shiori)
Katsuragi gives a nonchalant response and showed a small smile, and Asagi looks at me straight silently.
“There really were parallel worlds, huh.” (Kaede)
“? Well, we are in one after all.” (Makoto)
I was wondering what brought this up all of a sudden, and then, Katsuragi chuckled and said: “Was the parallel world Senpai went to similar to this one?”
She threw me that bomb.
Wa? The parallel world I went to? Where did she…
“Hm? Senpai, didn’t you say at school that ‘I went to a parallel world’?” (Kaede)
My dark past!
“No, you see, that was…” (Makoto)
“I don’t think that was a lie. Senpai is not good at lying after all.” (Kaede)
“What are you even saying?” (Makoto)
What’s gotten into her?
“Hmm, looks like you still don’t remember.” (Shiori)
“Don’t mind it.” (Kaede)
Katsuragi groans in dejection, and Asagi pats her head to console her.
“I’m okay now. Well then, Senpai, please do your best.” (Shiori)
“I won’t forgive you if you lose.” (Kaede)
Katsuragi and Asagi left with those words.
Have I met those two before? I have a somewhat decent confidence in my memory, but for some reason, I can’t remember them.
Were my memories tampered with, or did I simply forget? Or was there some other reason for that memory being gone?
I…can think of several possible reasons, but can’t pinpoint one which is vexing.
I once did have all my memories erased. At that time, I had the help of the spirits and sacred beasts to restore my memories, so that’s nice and all, but they did say that only the person themself would be able to tell if the memories have been restored completely, so…when I am in a situation where a piece of my memories is missing, I really can tell…that my memories weren’t completely restored.
For now, let’s leave the thinking for later and concentrate on what I have at hand.
☆☆ ☆☆ ☆☆ ☆☆ ☆☆
First training field.
The place where knights train everyday sweating for the sake of the country. That’s why, seeing a bunch of dressed up nobles in this kind of place just feels extremely out of place.
“Blunt swords will be used in this duel, and the use of magic is prohibited. The duel will be over when either side loses consciousness or surrenders. Is there any questions?”
The one who came out as the referee was the Knight General, Gallahard.
With a close to two metre height and an armor of muscle, his two arms have as much thickness as my thighs. He looks like a boorish military man, but the reason why I feel sincereness in him somewhere might be because the eyes he directed at me didn’t show any ill emotions.
“Then, a question.” (Makoto)
“What is it?” (Gallahard)
Gallahard looks at me with a gaze that felt as if it had a flash coming from it. The opponent knight also raised his eyebrows suspiciously.
“What happens if the weapon is…broken?” (Makoto)
“Of course, the one who had their weapon broken loses. Your weapon is your body after all.” (Gallahard)
“I see. Also, can’t I just surrender now?” (Makoto)
Gallahard was dumbfounded for a moment, but then he glared at me, and right after made a big sigh.
My opponent knight was clearly directing an irritated gaze, and felt as if he would attack me at any moment. You are lacking calcium, man. Go eat some fish.
Oh? Is this guy wearing a bracelet?
Even though this is a duel, he is quite the flashy one. No, this must mean that’s how much he looks down on me. I won’t get angered by something like this, but this bracelet smells suspicious.
C’mon, this is your time to shine, [Analyze].
[Disguised as the Metorda Bracelet — Real name is Dyudyurad Bracelet.]
[It reacts to the magic power of the wearer, and causes a magic power explosion —It can be controlled remotely.]
So the name at the top is the disguised name and the lower one is the real name…oi, wait a damn moment.
Name’s disguised and the effect is magic power explosion? This bracelet…is made to self-destruct! They are totally deceiving the wearer and totally planning on concealing it. Moreover, it is possible to remotely control it? What the hell’s up with that.
“…I don’t mind, but I don’t know if those guys will be okay with that.” (Gallahard)
Because I was so concentrated in the bracelet, I didn’t listen to what Gallahard said, but the place where Gallahard pointed out with his chin was where the prime minister, the magic division leader, and their group are.
I see. So that’s it… This bracelet is their doing, huh.
Don’t joke around, you retards.
“In the first place, if you are going to surrender, you shouldn’t have accepted the duel to begin with.” (Gallahard)
‘Preparing this duel was a real pain in the ass’, is what Gallahard mumbles, and I internally apologize to him before going for my next question.
“Also, is this person…strong?” (Makoto)
I point at my opponent knight with my finger and ask Gallahard. The person in question is…yup, so angered he can’t speak.
If possible, I would want to change my opponent. It is my first time meeting him, but if something were to happen with that bracelet and everything, it would still leave a bad aftertaste.
“He has ability comparable to that of a knight sergeant, and his level is over 30.” (Gallahard)
“Uwa…Can’t I change him? If possible, I would prefer to fight you instead.” (Makoto)
I look straight at Gallahard, but he scratched his head and makes a wry smile. Looks like it won’t be possible.
Anyways, level 30, huh. From the way he said it, being level 30 must be considered quite strong. A knight captain is probably higher than that.
“I did have interest in that, but I was refused this time around… I am the Knight General, you know.” (Gallahard)
“Ah, so that’s how it is. So, Knight General, what level are you?” (Makoto)
“I am level 48.” (Gallahard)
“Ooh…You are strong. Then, let’s begin.” (Makoto)
“Understood. Then, both parties, to your starting positions.” (Gallahard)
The duel opponent that had completely turned into air had a face bright red and walked on while muttering something.
When I glanced at that back figure of his and was about to walk too…
“Don’t die.” (Gallahard)
The whisper of Gallahard that was as if monologuing had entered my ears.
Please tell that to the other party… Seriously, what should I do…
☆☆ ★★★ ☆☆
Both parties reached their positions and faced each other.
If possible, she would have wanted to stop this duel. But if she were to do that, it would be exactly what the other side would want, and the situation would just devolve further. In order to avoid that, there’s the need to safely finish the duel.
He did say that he was prepared to receive injuries, but if possible, she would like it if it were to finish with no injuries. While thinking such a wish is impossible, she was feeling impatient by the fact that she can only watch over this.
‘Former Hero and Demon Lord’.
The very person that said this made an innocent face, but for her, it looked as if there was sadness in it somewhere. In the past, she was called the Crimson Lily Demoness, and the people around feared her and directed dry smiles at her.
The Queen, Caril, shrugged her shoulders recalling this.
He called himself that and laughed, but that face of his when he said that was still edged in her eyelids and won’t disappear.
He…most definitely encountered suffering and felt despair that can’t be expressed in words, moreover, not once but several times, over and over… Just by thinking that, she felt a pain as if her body is being cut, and she hugs herself tightly.
“We will now begin the duel between Gomon Bellkurt and Makoto Kamiuchi.” (Gallahard)
The voice of Gallahard that came from the center of the field resonated heavily in her stomach.
“It was great that he volunteered as referee, huh.”
“Yes. Gallahard-sama is a fair and upright person after all.”
The Queen glances at Gallahard from the noble’s seats, and then, directs her gaze at the opponent of Makoto, Gomon.
Even within the knight division, he possesses quite the ability. But the Bellkurt household is connected with Erac, which creates a connection with him and Gomon. Also, this duel was proposed by Eburd Yoshrant; it goes without saying that he is also in cahoots.
In other words, it was clear that this duel itself was a trap set by the Prime Minister from the very beginning.
Makoto most likely also understands this -though there’s no possible way for him to know about the connection Eburd and Gomon have- so that’s most likely why he accepted the duel. Really, just what is he thinking, is what Caril was having difficulties in understanding as she laughs.
“If they do this normally, there’s no doubt it is not an opponent he would lose to.” (Caril)
“Right. He did say that he can defeat all the knight divisions barehanded after all.” (Niva)
Agreeing with the words of Niva that were mixed with tiresomeness, Caril laughs, and then, when she directs her gaze to the person in question, Gallahard’s announcement finished, and the duel was about to start.
“Good luck to both parties. Now then, both sides, ready!” (Gallahard)
Both parties unsheathed their swords, and the sword shines with the light of the sun.
It can’t be seen from afar, but they are using blunt swords. When she looks at Niva for confirmation, she nods. With Niva’s eyesight, it is of no difficulty to confirm it, so Caril lets out a sigh of relief for now.
But the true challenge begins now.
“Fight fair and square with everything you have! Take yours stances —BEGIN!” (Gallahard)
Gallahard shouts with a strong voice that an average announcer wouldn’t have and it reverberates in the training field, and cheers rise.
It finally begins.
Caril simply wished for it to finish with nothing happening as she had no choice but to watch over the fate of this duel.
Gomon kicks the ground and runs forward the moment the signal to begin was given, and with bloodshot eyes, he rushes towards Makoto like a wild beast, and then, takes a big step as he swings his sword.
The strong swing of the sword was brought down and Makoto hurriedly jumped aside and rolled onto the ground pathetically. Right after, the sword was swung upwards, and Makoto evaded it as he rolled, and somehow managed to stand up as he took distance with clumsy steps.
Laughter could be heard from the knights, but Caril was different.
“He is good…” (Caril)
“Paper thin difference…no, he is predicting the attacks at an even greater extent than that. I wouldn’t be able to copy that.” (Niva)
From the eyes of the surrounding, the movements of Makoto were that of a beginner, but for the people that have a certain extent of ability, it would feel strange.
Just how many in this place would be able to see through it. Caril said that the ability of the knights has degraded, but she hasn’t been able to find a solution to solve the root of the problem of the knights, and was gloomy about it.
“Stop running around!”
The sword that was being swung wildly with anger was being avoided by Makoto while raising a pathetic voice. He takes distance from Gomon as if running away from him, and takes a stance with his sword.
The trembling tip of the sword was speaking volumes of his ability with the sword, but Gomon didn’t let this affect him as he once again closes the distance to Makoto.
“He is being blinded by his anger.” (Caril)
“Yeah. I did hear that he had a bad temper, but to think it was to this extent…” (Niva)
Niva agrees with the disappointed voice of Caril, and follows the movements of Gomon with their eyes.
Gomon didn’t raise his sword and instead swung the sword to the side aiming for Makoto’s abdomen.
“Uo…that was dangerous.” (Makoto)
“Kuh, you bastard!”
A high-pitched sound resonated, and the two cross paths.
Makoto swings his sword randomly in order to repel Gomon who rushed towards him, and it coincidentally hit the sword of Gomon, and…as a result, he somehow managed to escape by repelling the sword.
Gomon’s anger increased by how he was fended off by coincidence, and the spectators were booing Gomon for it. Shouting at him to ‘fight seriously’.
“How scary. Seriously.” (Caril)
“Y-Yeah… Makoto-sama is playing around.” (Niva)
“Provoking your opponent in a situation like this might be, in a sense, a talent of sorts.” (Caril)
“In his case, he is aware of what he is doing, so that makes it even worse natured.” (Niva)
And both Caril and Niva were amazed by how Makoto is playing around.
The self-proclaimed ‘ordinary citizen’ that was caught in the hero summoning and is currently panicking pathetically, and Gomon who has ability close to that of a lieutenant within the knight division. The result is clear in sight.
The victory of Gomon.
From his track record, there’s no one who would doubt this. There should be no one who would think of Makoto as an Abnormal Monster after witnessing this pathetic sight of his. At the very least, everyone aside from the ones who felt something out of place seeing his actions.
Just how many have noticed this?
Why is it that, even when he has rolled around the ground so many times, and showed so many pathetic displays, aside from the dust dirtying his clothes, there’s not a single wound on him?
Why is it that…no one notices this?
Not only Caril sensed something was out of place, but Niva also felt the same. Without leaking out the state of Makoto, they continue watching with a doubtful expression.
‘He must have done something’, is the only thing that Caril could tell. That’s why, when Makoto glanced at them with a smile as if he were having fun, Caril’s heart throbbed violently.
‘He is planning something’, as if he had been waiting for them to understand this, the moment Makoto tried to evade the swung sword of Gomon, he lost balance and fell.
“With this…it is over!!”
Makoto tried to protect himself with his sword against the sword of Gomon’s that was coming down at him, but…
The sword that received the sharp and heavy swing of Gomon had made an extremely high-pitched sound, and Makoto had his body blown to the back from the shock.
“Ouch ouch…” (Makoto)
“Looks like…the duel has been settled.” (Gomon)
Gomon pushes his sword to the neck of Makoto while heaving with his shoulders going up and down. As if answering this, Makoto made a bitter smile and raised the sword that was in his hand.
“With this, it would have been my lost anyways.” (Makoto)
The sword of Makoto was broken from around the middle and was in a sad state.
Seeing this, Caril was unable to stop the trembling going around her whole body, but she couldn’t restrain the smile that naturally surfaced in her face.
‘He is truly a scary one. I am really glad he is not an enemy’. Caril lets out a sigh of relief from the bottom of her heart, and entrusts her body to the seat.
“It was on purpose, wasn’t it?” (Caril)
The voice of Niva sounded disinterested, but it somewhat felt as if she were shining like a merry maiden. ‘Maybe spring has finally come for her’, with that out-of-place emotion of hers, Caril ended up speaking out something unnecessary.
“…He is a nice man. Have you fallen in love?” (Caril)
“What are you suddenly saying?” (Niva)
“Don’t worry about the difference in age. I think he is quite the great find, you know?” (Caril)
“……I don’t know what you are talking about.” (Niva)
Niva faces to the side like a child with cheeks blushing red. Seeing this, Caril laughs amused and simply looked at the training field that was covered in silence.
“Duel over! Winner is…Gomon Bellkurt!” (Gallahard)
One breath after, Gallahard declared the victor, and the curtains of the duel came down with the clapping of the spectators.
With this, Caril understood disinclined that the conspiracy going around this country had finally reached the point of no return. She prepared herself emotionally, and resolved herself.
She will put her life on the line for the sake of protecting this country and her beloved people…