The first match ended with Lantz’s victory, though he was a bit injured while fighting. His right arm was almost rendered useless.
“Hmm, an injury of that degree…….” It seemed Cecile had the same concerns as me. “Well, she’ll be able to heal it easily, but she’ll definitely complain…..”
She? Who is this ‘she’?
While I was thinking that, the stage was being repaired by the tournament staff. The stage had practically been broken due to the explosion caused by Lantz’s and Balfazar’s attack, so it was clear that it would take some time. Knowing that, most of the participants had already left, leaving only me and Pars.
Perhaps seeing this as a good opportunity, Cecile spoke.
“So what do you think now, Samael?” On her face was a provocative smile. “Do you still think you can beat Lantz?”
“Huh? Eh? What?”
Pars was totally confused as his gaze alternated between me and the princess, but Cecile’s gaze was fixed solely on me.
“Who knows? Only time will tell, I guess.”
“That is indeed true.” Cecile took another sip from her glass. “However, I hope you do not misunderstand me. I actually rate you highly.”
“And so does Lantz. But it’s yet to be seen whether you are fit to fight alongside the Heroes.”
“I see. That certainly makes sense. In other words, I have to prove myself that I’m worthy of standing beside the Heroes. And to do that, I have to win this tournament. Now, the question is, who is the opponent you have prepared for me?”
“I think you should look forward to that.”
So she has no intention of telling me, huh.
“As you wish, my lady.”
Our conversation ended with that, but there was someone else who was not satisfied. Pars gripped my shoulder tightly and with his thumb, pointed towards the door of this room.
“Ah, Pars.” But before I could say anything, Cecile interfered. “The next match is yours, right? Why don’t you go ahead and prepare for it?”
“She’s right, Pars. You shouldn’t be so careless just because your enemy appears to be weak.”
Facing opposition from two parties, one of which was the Third Princess, Pars grumbled.
“Yes, your majesty.”
And left. But the look he gave clearly told me that he was not going to leave this matter.
“You can thank me later.”
“Weren’t you the one who created this problem in the first place? Do you have no shame?”
Feeling the impudence in my words, the two knights stirred. But they were stopped by the hand raised by Cecile.
“It has been some time since some acted so impertinently with me. It feels refreshing. I like you.”
“You know what, your majesty? I think I’ll stay away from you.”
“Hahahah.” She giggled. “You won’t be able to.”
Geez. I wish Phiria was here with me.
“And, what about the information you promised me?”
“I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a bit longer for that.”
“You do have that information, right?”
“Of course I do.”
Our conversation ended with that.
Half an hour later, the stage was repaired with the use of magic; it was now as good as new.
“Ladies and gentlemen! It is time for the second match!” The announcer started. “On one side is the vice-captain of Fourth Order of Knights, Reyshaw. And his opponent is the Platinum ranked adventurer and people’s favourite, Pars!”
As he said that, just like the previous match, both Pars and Reyshaw appeared on the stage from opposite ends. Pars was a magic swordsman, while Reyshaw was a magician. As both of them stood at the appropriate distance from each other and readied their weapons, the announcers shouted.
“Without further ado! Let the second match, begin!”
With the announcement as the cue, Pars instantly ran from his place towards Reyshaw. While not as fast as Balfazar or Lantz, his speed was still too much for the normal eye.
In response to that, a wall of fire rose from Reyshaw’s feet and headed towards Pars. As both of them collided, Reyshaw produced several fireballs to attack Pars with.
And as it turned out, he was right in preparing them. Pars cut through the wall of fire with a downward slash of his sword and continued moving towards Reyshaw. Of course, Reyshaw attacked with the fireballs in order to stop the approaching Pars, and started the casting for another magic spell.
However, Pars was faster. Dodging the fireballs and slicing through those he couldn’t, he instantly closed in on Reyshaw. The latter abandoned the casting for his magic spell and tried to create distance by augmenting his physical strength and jumping, but Pars had already anticipated that.
From the ground came a vine and bound Reyshaw’s leg, stopping him from moving any further. The vine was instantly burned, but that was enough time for Pars. He hit Reyshaw’s head with the hilt of his sword with all his might, thus rendering the latter unconscious.
The crowd cheered in applause with Pars victory, and so ended the second match.
And now, it was my turn.
Unlike the previous matches, the spectators didn’t expect that much from this match. Not that I cared about it, but it still put a damper on my motivation.
I guess I’ll just finish quickly and go back.
“Good luck, Mr. Samael.”
Cecile wished me luck as I stepped out of the room. The announcer was already finished by the time I reached the stage, so all that was left for me was to fight.
As I stood on the stage waiting for the announcer to start the match, Carlos, my opponent, called out to me.
“Yoo! You are still a Ruby ranked adventurer, right?” I nodded in return. “It almost pains me to crush a newbie like you, so allow me to give you an offer.”
“It’s simple: you just have to withdraw.”
Well, I expected that.
“I appreciate your magnanimity, Sir Carlos. But due to certain circumstances, I’m unable to accept your offer. I hope you’ll forgive me for that.”
His eyes narrowed.
“Oh well. Just don’t blame me if I accidentally turn you into a cripple.”
Whoa, this guy’s cocky.
Seeing that we were now ready, the announcer signalled the start of the match.
“Without further ado, let the third match, begin!”
The moment he announced that, Carlos’ hand went towards the sword on his waist and gripped its hilt. However, by that time, I was already in front of him.
And those were his last words before he was sent flying by my ‘Wave Explosion’. Well, since I had reduced the limit on my stats, the ‘Wave Explosion’ was stronger than I had intended it to be and Carlos was sent flying at a great speed. Hitting the barrier that surrounded the stage to protect the spectators, he lost consciousness.
“I-It’s over!” The announcer was flustered. “Adventurer Carlos was sent flying by Samael in just a single hit! The winner is Samael!”
The crowd rose in thunderous cheers and applause at my unprecedented one hit attack. With those cheers at my back, I exited the stage and came back to the VIP room, where Pars and Cecile were waiting for me.
Pars started, but was cut off by Cecile.
“That was very well done, Mr. Samael. I’m impressed.”
“Thank you, your majesty. And, you were saying something, Pars?”
I decided to extend a hand towards the pathetic Pars, whose eyes lit up in joy upon finally being paid attention.
“As I was saying, I’d expect nothing less from you!”
“You sure you aren’t overestimating me?”
“Definitely not!” He retorted. “Especially not after seeing the current match! I look forward to our battle!”
“So do I.”
I genuinely respect Pars for being the only normal guy around me, so I think I should fulfil his wish and give him a serious fight. Provided that we do get the chance to fight.
After that remained two more matches, but they weren’t any special or important. The fourth match was won by Diana, while the fifth was won by Rugtred. And so, five participants had moved on to the third round.
Now, the problem was: how would they fight? Five was an odd number, so one-on-one matches weren’t possible without having anyone fight more than once. There were a number of systems that could be adopted, but most of them were unfair to the participants considering that the tournament was supposed to end today.
However, it seemed that the answer to that question had already been devised by Cecile.
“Now then!” The announcer garnered everyone’s attention. “I’m sure you’re wondering: just how are five participants supposed to fight? Well, worry not, for there is a sixth contender! Everyone, the man recommended by the Third Princess herself, Arthur Invern!”
As he announced that, one of the knights standing by Cecile’s side took off his helmet and metal armour, revealing beneath it a suit of leather armour. He took out a masquerade mask from his pocket and donned it. After checking his sword fastened to his waist, he jumped down onto the stage straight from the balcony.
The spectators once again shouted in praise at his flashy appearance, and he bowed courteously in return. It was now our turn to move on to the stage, and I exited the room with Pars for that.
But, Arthur, eh?
I guess I can expect great things from you, Cecile Constantine.