The second day of the Chivalric Order Member Selection Armed Tournament, which looked like it was going well, had fallen into an unexpected situation.
「Th, the victor is Rutelis!」
At the center of the stage where the referee knight had raised his voice, there were the figures of a single collapsed man, and of the man called Rutelis looking down at him.
It was a scene where it was clear who was the victor and who was the loser with just a glance.
However, without any praise, cheers, or excitement, only silence dominated the arena.
The man that had fallen face down had his armor all dented up, and his arms and legs were twisted in strange ways as if he were a broken doll.
In contrast to that, the man who was the victor didn’t have a scratch on him even though he didn’t have a single bit of armor on him.
Since the forelocks of his white hair were slightly long, his eyes were faintly covered. The hair at the back of his head, which extended down further than his shoulders, looked like that of a woman’s at a glance, but it wasn’t glossy like a woman’s hair would feel like.
He was overall slender, and he was a man who was particularly tall amongst the participants this time. His figure that wore close-fitting, stand-up collar clothes made him even look like a knight.
However, his actions were far from being that of a knight’s. This man, he made a blow to the opponent’s face right at the same time as the start of the match, and then continued to punch him just like that until his opponent couldn’t move.
Coming down from the stage without saying a single word, Rutelis headed towards the participant seats, and without paying any attention to the other participants that unconsciously averted their eyes from him and pulled back away from him, he walked aiming towards a single spot.
What was at the place he headed towards, were Kain and Ein.
After making a rough sound as he sat down next to Ein, Rutelis expressed a savage smile on his handsome face.
「Hey, oi. Don’t cha think this is all borin’?」
Ein didn’t answer him. She silently gazed at the next match that had started, while contrastively, Kain glared silently glared at Rutelis.
After glancing at Kain, Rutelis immediately lost interest and returned his gaze back to Ein.
「Are they tryin’ to make us say “I’m the strongest knight by wieldin’ such blunt weapons”? Truly stupid.」
At the end of Ein’s gaze, a heavy swordsman wearing full body armor had driven their opponent light swordsman into a corner with movement that wouldn’t let her feel the weight of the armor.
Those movements had a rational beauty that was trained well in actual combat, and Ein unconsciously went “hou” and leaked out a voice of admiration.
「A sword is only a sword when it cuts……hey, oi, are ya listenin’?」
Rutelis tried to grab Ein’s shoulder, however, his hand was repelled by Ein.
Immediately after the heavy swordsman knocked away the light swordsman’s sword, Ein replied to Rutelis without taking her eyes off of the stage.
「You are the one who can’t handle a blunt weapon as anything but a blunt weapon, that is all that it means. When compared to match just now, are you not self-aware……of just how ugly your match was?」
After the dumbfounded Rutelis twisted his head as if thinking about the meaning of those words, he looked at Ein with an expression that said he found her words to be incomprehensible.
「The hell are ya sayin’? The meanin’ of a sword’s existence is to cut, ya know? It ain’t to be cleverly waved about. A sword that can’t cut, that’s just throwin’ away its original role. A piece of scrap iron like that, it can’t be anythin’ but a blunt weapon.」
Rutelis opened up both hands, and started speaking as if admonishing a child.
「Listen up, the things known as sword techniques certainly are good and all. You’ll definitely become strong if ya master ‘em. But, in the end, they’re just techniques in order to skillfully cut and stab with a sword. In other words, a sword was born for the sake of doin’ that. In order to skillfully use a sword, there are other things like techniques and power and stuff.」
「……Like that, doesn’t it sound like the sword is everything?」
From the other side of Ein, Kain made a counterargument to Rutelis while glaring at him.
Maybe because it was there that Rutelis finally remembered Kain’s existence, when he opened his eyes wide, he immediately narrowed his eyes as if ridiculing him.
「……Ain’t that obvious? Speakin’ of the ultimate one, as long as they have the strongest sword, even a brat can kill someone strong. And it ain’t none other than the Hero that is proof of that.」
Ein’s eyebrow twitched from the lines that could be called a declaration that Rutelis said, and Kain made a disgusted face.
In the past, there was Demon King Shuklous who threw mankind’s territory into chaos, and then the Great Demon King Gramfia.
The one who defeated those Demon Kings who boasted enormous power, was a young man called Hero Ryuuya. The Holy Sword that he wielded was certainly made out to be the strongest, and it is even said that the Demon Kings wouldn’t have been defeated if he hadn’t completed the Holy Sword.
「Both a trained body, and excellent techniques……in the end, they’re things meant to cover the weaknesses of the sword. And for Princess-sama, if she wants strong knights, then she should just inspect the candidates’ weapon preference. That’d be the fastest way to do things.」
「……You seem to be quite confident in your own sword, don’t you?」
Hearing Ein’s nonchalant question, Rutelis expressed a crooked smile as if he were waiting for those words.
「……Pretty much. If there was anythin’ that could oppose me, then that’d be one of the Peerless Swords or the Holy Sword.」
Bringing up the example of the Peerless Swords――phantom swords where there is said to be only five of in the world, Rutelis nodded looking satisfied.
「The Peerless Swords, you say. Something like that, it is nothing more than a simple legend. It is only vain to compare to something that doesn’t exist.」
「Ya think so?」
After laughing through his nose at Ein’s snide comment, Rutelis deepened his smile even further.
「I don’t think that’s the case. If we were allowed to use our own weapons in this screenin’, I think ya might’ve had a chance to see one though?」
「……Is the punchline that your weapon is a Peerless Sword?」
Hearing that, Rutelis opened his mouth and laughed with a loud voice.
In response to the laughter that was loud enough to make the other participants that were timidly listening to their conversation reflexively turn around to him, Ein covered her ears with her hands looking like she was in discomfort, and Kain similarly covered his ear that was closest to Rutelis with one hand.
When his laugh finished after a while, Rutelis slapped his knee with a *pon*.
「Oh man, that was an interestin’ joke.」
Saying that, Rutelis stood up from his seat.
「I understand that it ain’t you……Well, it’s fine. See ya.」
「……What are you talking about?」
「It’s nothing. It’s a story that doesn’t matter anymore.」
After Rutelis said that, he went and entered a building of the arena.
Ein made a baffled looking face at his sudden change.
「……What the heck was up with that guy.」
After that, the matches advanced well.
What remained, were six people.
Among them, there was naturally Ein and Kain――And then, Rutelis’ name was also there.