Translator: Saitama-sensei Editor:Ryunakama
74. Darkness and Sword King Festival 
When I heard about the wonderful training method from Leia-sensei, I worked hard every day to control『Darkness』.
Going through training with the clear goal of『manipulate darkness』instead of swinging my sword aimlessly as before was a little fresh and fun.
During the day, I attended the academy.
After that was over, I participated in the activity of the practice-swing club.
In the evening, I honed my swordsmanship with Ria and Rose.
While living through such a simple daily routine, I was conscious of『darkness』at all times.
A few, such fulfilling days passed, and it was finally the day of the Sword King Festival.
「Well then, Ria, I’m off.」
The time was seven o’clock in the morning.
Having finished my morning preparations, I said goodbye to Ria at the front door.
「Un, be careful. I’ll cheer you on from the audience seat, so make sure to spot me, alright?」
「Aa, I got it.」
The contestants participating in the Sword King Festival had to arrive at the venue a little early.
That’s why I had to leave the dorm first.
「Take care, Allen.」
「Aa, see you later.」
I was seen off by Ria, waving her small right hand, and I went straight to the student council room.
Before the Sword King Festival begins, we have a brief strategy meeting. After that, all the participating members are scheduled to head to the venue.
When I arrived at the student council room, I knocked and slowly opened the door after I got permission to enter.
「President, Lilim-senpai, Ferris-senpai, good morning.」
「Good morning, Allen-kun.」
「Good morning, Allen-kun! The weather is just perfect for the Sword King Festival!」
「…… Good morning.」
The president with a soft smile.
As usual, Lilim-senpai was full of energy.
Ferris-senpai, who is a weak morning person, still had a drowsy look.
Each of them returned the greetings in three different manners.
「Well then, Allen-kun is here, so let’s start the strategy meeting soon.」
「That’s right! By the way, my recommendation is『All-out attack!』That’s all!」
「I’d like you to make it short if possible though… Fuwaa…」
When I chuckled at Lilim-senpai and Ferris-senpai’s usual antics,
「Well, before that… I haven’t shown it to Allen-kun yet. Here, this is our list of participants.」
The president handed over a piece of paper.
「Thank you very much.」
The names of five representative participants of Thousand Blade Academy and the fighting order were written on it.
Vanguard = Allen Rodore.
Second = Lilim Tsuorine.
Center = Ferris Magdalot.
Vice-General = Sie Arcstria.
General = Sebas Chandler.
The name of a stranger was written.
It was also registered as『General』.
「Sebas-Chandler, our vice-president.」
The president answered my mumble with a sigh.
「Eh…? Did you already find the vice-president?」
It was said that the vice-president went to the Holy Ronelia Empire, a country that was banned from travel, in search of Blood Diamond.
Unbelievably, it was for a mere『punishment game』.
「Nope, still missing as of yet…」
「Yeah… Unfortunately, the general match will be a loss due to absence.」
The president continued to talk with a gloomy face.
「When I requested the head of Public Morals Committee to serve as a substitute, I was turned down saying,『Not interested』. In terms of ability, only Sebas is left who can be entrusted with the position of『General』or『Vice General』… That’s why I thought,『Instead of leaving it blank, might as well write his name!』and so I registered as such…」
Certainly, the number of people who can be entrusted with『General』or『Vice General』 position, where the strongest class of swordsmen from each academy is projected, will naturally be limited.
The match between swordsmen is a serious battle.
If a person of half-baked ability is sent out, a tragedy is certain to happen.
(But conversely speaking…『Head of Public Morals Committee』and『Vice-President Sebas Chandler』are powerful enough to be recognized by the president.)
If there is an opportunity, I would like to have a mock battle with them.
When I was thinking about that,
「That is why our strategy is『All-out attack!』. Or rather, that’s the only option left to us!」
The president hit the desk and said so strongly.
「Oh! That’s good, Sie! We have the same thinking!」
Lilim-senpai strongly agreed with the president’s『push forward strategy.』
Satisfied with that, she nodded and began to talk about the contents of that extremely simple strategy.
「The strategy is very simple. As you can see, this time I stepped down to the『Vice-General』 position. The intention, is of course, the certain win of the Vice-General battle! So Allen-kun, Ferris, Lilim, the three of you have to snatch『two wins』one way or another! We will aim for an early settlement before reaching the General match!」
「I-I’ll do my best…!」
「Leave it to me! I’ll settle the match perfectly!」
「…… I’ll at least try to put in some effort though.”
And as each of us returned our replies,
「Then, let’s go to the venue of the Sword King Festival!」
Following the exultant president, we headed to the venue of the Sword King Festival.
The Sword King Festival is one of the highest profile swordsmanship festivals in the country. It is attended by every high-school Swordsmanship Academy.
Each academy will be divided from Group A to Group H and will compete in the qualifying rounds.
And only the top two academies that have won through in each group can compete in the main round.
Naturally, such a large festival does not fit in a single day, and so, the Sword King Festival is held for three days.
The first day is qualifying rounds, the second day is the main rounds, and the third day is the finals.
「Now, we’re here. This is the qualifier venue for Group A,『Orest National Arena』.」
The president said, pointing to a huge round shaped arena towering in front of us.
「T-This is another magnificent building…」
It was about a size smaller than『Great Arena』in Vesteria.
That was a stone structure with history and persistence that was exposed to the wind and rain, but this was a modern structure made of steel and concrete.
「Well, let’s finish up at the reception desk early. You also need to get used to the『atmosphere』inside.」
The president then proceeded to the reception tent quickly.
We passed through the gate of the Orest National Arena after we had finished the reception.
After going through a long cobblestone passage, a scene of a large number of swordsmen unfolded before me.
Whether I look to the right or to the left – no matter where I look, they’re all swordsmen.
The overwhelming atmosphere and the feeling of pressure made me a little overwhelmed.
I was feeling something akin to『anthropophobia.』 [1. TL Note : “Anthropophobia” is dizziness experienced in crowded places.]
Growing up in Goza village which has far more livestock than people, I’m not very good with this kind of crowd.
However, I have to work hard and get used to this.
I took a few deep breaths and calmed down.
A little while later, the opening ceremony of the Sword King Festival Executive Committee began.
The elderly man standing on the platform gave a brief greeting and explained the rules.
Each academy’s selected five – Vanguard, Second, Center, Vice General, General – the victory goes to the side which acquires three wins first.
In order to nurture the younger generation, each academy must appoint a first-year student as『Vanguard』without fail.
Only swords are allowed into the match, whereas armour and others are prohibited.
There was nothing unusual. It was just the usual simple rules.
「Then, I will release today’s tournament table.」
The moment the elderly man on the platform said so,
A tournament table was projected on the huge screen behind him.
(Thousand Blade Academy…)
I looked through the tournament table, and found『Thousand Blade Academy』on the left end.
It seems that Thousand Blade Academy will be in the first match today.
(The opponent for the first match is…『Werewolf Academy』…)
It’s a name I’ve never heard of.
When I was thinking about that,
「Uh-heh… We’re fighting『Werewolf』in the first match itself… Urgh!」
Lilim-senpai blatantly grimaced.
「Lilim-senpai, do you know the Werewolf Academy?」
「It’s a fairly famous school. They’re veterans who advanced to the main rounds last year and the year before that. Well, that doesn’t really matter. I just personally don’t like them, because it’s quite a vulgar academy…」
When we were talking about that, the voice of a woman resounded throughout the venue.
「Well then, today’s schedule is quite packed, so I’d like to start the first qualifying match right away! Everyone of Thousand Blade Academy and Werewolf Academy please prepare! With the exception of those two teams, everyone else please leave the stage at once!」
It seems that the first match will start soon after this.
「Good luck, Allen!」
「You can do it! Fighting spirit is what matters!」
「I’m rooting for you though…」
The president and senpais cheered me on while patting my back.
「Ha! I’ll do my best!」
Thus, I became fired up in anticipation of the『Vanguard Battle』.