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Chapter 21: Fighting Tournament (Other POV)
Summer vacation has passed, and liveliness has returned to the academy.
The fighting tournament that was held twice every year was the greatest time for knight candidates to show off their abilities.
If they managed to get a good result, the Saint would pay attention to them.
Just with that, the chance for them to become knights would increase.
As matter of fact, the current Prime Knight, Leila Scott, had gotten a lot of attention and a high evaluation from the previous Guard Knights in her 1st year due to her capabilities. The idea that she would become a Guard Knight was already treated as an established fact.
Vernell too, was one of the people who aimed for the championship.
In addition, Elrise also came to watch this tournament. He couldn’t afford to show a bad fight
It’s alright, he said to calm himself down.
All the training that he’s done up until now wouldn’t betray him. All he needed to do now was to do his best.
As the tournament began, Vernell kept winning his matches with great speed.
He blew the enemy’s sword away using the power he honed from training, and nimbly dodged the enemy’s magic. Most of his fights were decided by the first move.
Beside him, there was also John, a person who had also been caught in that hostage incident and had become friends with him. John had also gained the prestigious achievement of reaching the top four.
The people who had managed to reach the top four were Vernell, John, Aina Fox, whose father is a Guard Knight.
And finally, Mary Jet, who was not well known, yet possessed an overwhelming skill against other fighters. Both of the girls were pretty, and had contrasting hair colors of red and blue respectively.
For their matches, it was Mary against Aina, followed by Vernell against John. The semi-final battles had competitors of the same gender fight each other.
Mary and Aina went to the ring first. Both of them brandished their weapons and faced each other.
Aina had a long sword as her weapon, while Mary brought a light-weight rapier.
Obviously, neither of them held real weapons.
These weapons were prepared by academy and the blades were dulled.
With this precaution there wouldn’t be any unfairness due to a difference in the students’ economic power.
Even with its blade dulled though, a weapon was still a weapon.
Even if it was used like an iron rod instead, it could still kill people if they were hit in a bad spot. They could die if they let their guard down, and such a case had even happened in the past.
That was why, although they weren’t wielding real weapons, they still had serious expressions and there was a tense atmosphere between them.
“I saw your match. You have superb skill… you might have had a chance for the championship. But that’s only if you were not facing me.”
“I’m different from you. To not sully the name of my father, who is a Guard Knight, I can’t lose here.”
Aina’s father was one of Guard Knights who served the Saint.
Due to his age, his spot as a Prime Knight, which granted the right to be closest to Saint, was taken away by Leila. Even so, he was still a well-known knight.
As such, Aina decided she was the one worthy to be the Prime Knight, and she intended to clear her father’s regret of having this post taken away by Leila.
…her father never actually felt the slightest regret about losing his post as the Prime Knight. Rather, he was satisfied someone more capable took his place…
Toward Aina’s declaration, Mary quietly replied.
“…I think, that’s amazing… even so, I won’t lose”
“Such an arrogant person. Fine, I shall teach you the difference in our level.”
Not only their hair color, their personalities also contrasted.
When they heard the signal to start, Aina, twintails fluttering, quickly rushed Mary. Mary then quietly parried it.
Aina’s sword skill was textbook perfect, a true example of how proper sword skill should be done.
Perhaps this was because she had been taught this way since she was young.
Mary avoided it with slight movement and then grasped Aina’s hand.
As a result, Aina’s hand was frozen with ice magic, and her movement was impeded.
Aina hurriedly tried to use fire magic to thaw it, but Mary seized that opening to thrust her rapier in front of Aina’s neck.
“That’s it! The victor is Mary Jet!”
The blue haired girl won the fight in the women’s match.
Mary then offered a hand to Aina, but it was slapped away as Aina ran away from the ring while wiping away tears.
Mary gazed at her back with a lonely expression before walking down from the ring.
After these two was the match between Vernell and John.
As they stood on the ring, they both smiled toward each other.
“To think we would fight like this. Even so, I’ve wanted to do this at least once.”
“Ah. Let’s fight each other without any regrets.”
Vernell responded to John’s words with fighting spirit, and they wielded their respective weapons.
Vernell’s weapon was a two-handed greatsword, with a blade length that reached 1.8 meters long.
It needed great strength to wield it properly, but it was a reliable weapon if one was able to do so.
And Vernell right now did possess the necessary muscle power for it.
On the other hand, John wielded two swords. One hand held a common long sword, while the other held a short sword.
His proper weapon was a custom weapon that was designed to be used as a set, but he didn’t have any choice but to use what was provided for the competition.
At the signal, Vernell rushed John.
He swung his greatsword downwards toward the floor of the ring.
John easily avoided it, but as if Vernell had read his move, he then made a sweeping strike with his sword.
This was how Vernell managed to win his fights so far.
It’s best if he could win in one hit. If this was avoided, just sweep it towards the direction the enemy dodged in. With the reach of the greatsword, it would hit his opponent and blow them far enough away to force a ring out.
But John avoided this sweeping strike by jumping over it and then he closed their distance.
A greatsword has long reach, but it was no good in close quarter combat.
John stabbed his sword towards Vernell’s neck — which Vernell dodged by nimbly bending back his upper body at a crazy angle. 1
His lower body stably supported such an unstable position, while he used one hand to slash towards John.
John avoided the strike by rolling away, increasing their distance.
Using that chance, Vernell struck down again towards John, who blocked it by crossing both of his swords.
The swords shrieked against each other and the weight and shock of the blow brought John to his knees.
Even so, he managed to stop it, and with this it became a contest of raw power between the two.
“Guh… you damn muscle idiot…”
“Thanks, I guess… I will take that as a compliment!”
Vernell increased the strength behind his sword.
It’s clear that John would lose in a contest of strength.
So John threw his short sword towards Vernell.
Vernell reacted by tilting his body to avoid it, but this weakened his force.
With this opening, John managed to escape from Vernell’s sword, and then aimed a kick at his blade, pushing him back.
This move broke Vernell’s stance.
“I’ve got you now!”
John swung his sword upwards.
As Vernell saw that, he also noticed a short sword by his feet.
It was the one John had thrown at him earlier.
He quickly abandoned his greatsword, picked up the short sword with his right hand, and blocked John’s strike with it.
At the same time, he used his left hand to grasp John’s neck and to choke him.
His sword fell from his hand, then Vernell swept John’s leg from under him.
As John collapsed, Vernell aimed the short sword toward his head.
At this, John let out a rueful laugh, and raised his arms in surrender.
“That’s it! The victor is Vernell!”
As the results were announced, Vernell reached his hand out to John.
John accepted his hand and stood up, then the two exchanged a firm handshake and commended each other’s ability.
Mary gazed at that scene with a little envy and clenched her hand that was slapped by the red haired girl earlier.
The semi-finals concluded, and the fighting tournament reached its climax.
It was the fight between Vernell and Mary.
They both took a stance: Vernell, with his greatsword, and Mary, with her rapier.
The fight began. As he had at the start of the previous matches, Vernell made a downward strike with his greatsword..
Mary coolly dodged to the right, and Vernell swept his greatsword again in her direction.
It was totally the same. Even if he managed to win this way up until the semi-final, it was too much of a predictable pattern.
As such, Mary avoided it by jumping — which turned out to be exactly within Vernell’s expectations. He then swung his sword at a higher angle than before.
This made Mary blink in surprise.
She understood his strategy then. All those single pattern moves were for this moment.
He repeated the same motion up until semi-finals to make his enemy expect it, then changed the trajectory of his sweep during the final.
Such a change would surprise his opponent.
But in the next moment, it was Vernell’s turn to be surprised.
Mary avoided the seemingly unavoidable trajectory of his strike by rotating her body sideways.
As she landed, she dashed towards Vernell and thrust her rapier.
He could avoid this by drawing back, but Mary could just as easily chase forward and keep thrusting.
The battle was decided — everyone thought so.
But Vernell avoided the rapier by bending his body back again like in the previous fight, then he touched his elbow to the floor of the ring to stabilize his position.
And then, a kick! A cannon-like kick hit Mary’s rapier and flung it mid-air.
Mary instantly moved back and widened the distance between them. She cast ice magic towards her rapier.
Then the rapier was blown back into the ring from the impact of her ice magic. She caught it effortlessly.
“…Amazing. To think that you could do that kind of powerful kick from such an unstable position.”
“You’re also amazing. To instantly adapt to my bluff for the final.”
“…That one really surprised me.”
It has only been a short time since the battle started, but the two of them recognized each other’s ability and smiled at each other.
Then, both of them resumed their stances once again.
This time Mary struck first with a high speed thrust.
However, Vernell blocked it using the body of his greatsword and metallic shrieks echoed once more.
And then, a sweeping blow!
Vernell swung his greatsword with a momentum that cut through air, but Mary was no longer in that spot.
She had drawn back as soon she felt the incoming attack, then started advancing once again.
Her fighting style was one that utilized her speed, where she would strike & then quickly dodge.
On the other hand, Vernell was the type that stood his ground and intercepted the enemy.
As long it was within his weapon’s reach, he would exploit the range of his greatsword and swing about, it was a simple battle style.
Both of them fought evenly, and the match continued as such as the students watched.
Mary, who danced like a butterfly and stung like a bee.
And Vernell, who endured the assault and struck back with heavy hits.
But eventually, Mary was the first to get tired.
Unlike Mary who ran around the arena, Vernell barely moved at all.
In addition, there was also the stamina difference between a man and a woman.
This made it inevitable for Mary to end up tired first.
“You’ve started losing your breath. It’s no wonder since you moved around so much.”
“Haa… haa.. you don’t look tired at all…”
“Well, I trained myself quite a bit.”
“…Amazing. But… the one who wins, will be me.”
It seemed like Vernell had the advantage.
But it’s not like Mary was doing all those strikes without plan.
She pointed towards Vernell’s feet, and it was then that he noticed that he was unable to move them.
“This is…! Ice magic!”
“Yes. A person with your skill… will be able to avoid being attacked before they get frozen… so,”
As she said that, she activated her magic.
His immobile leg was frozen and it became harder to move around.
“I lowered the temperature slowly… so you can’t avoid it.”
“No, this is no good!”
“You can’t escape anymore.”
Mary’s magic also froze both of Vernell’s hands, and he could no longer use his weapon.
He was held motionless. His body might get crushed if he forced it to move.
Fire magic could thaw it, but Vernell was not capable enough with magic to do so… and even if he could, she wouldn’t let it happen.
Mary ran forward, drawing her rapier.
All she needed to do was thrust it to his neck.
Yet she saw something unexpected— the ice that covered him started cracking.
With a fierce cry from Vernell, the ice that formed on him was shattered.
Such was the absurd amount of strength he had. To think he could break the ice from the inside.
…no, that’s not the problem here.
Even with raw strength, if one forcefully moved a frozen body, the body will be crushed.
To make Vernell’s feat possible, it meant that the magic itself failed to enter his body.
Mary didn’t know that Vernell has a dark attribute power that tormented him ever since he was young.
Because it was the same attribute as the Witch’s power, it made Vernell’s body more resistant to damage.
He didn’t have complete control over this power, but due to being pushed to the brink by Mary, Vernell managed to unconsciously prevent her ice magic from freezing the inside of his body.
In that moment, Mary was stupefied by the unexpected turn of events… and the match was decided.
Vernell used his greatsword to knock off her Rapier, then touched her neck with it, which caused her shiver instinctively.
“The match is decided!”
“It is done! The champion is Vernell!”
At the judge’s signal, the commentator announced the result in a loud voice.
Vernell put his sword away, and before celebrating his victory, he paid his respects toward a worthy opponent by reaching out his hand.
Mary looked at it for a few seconds and then, with a slightly happy smile, she took Vernell’s hand.
And so with this, this Fighting Tournament closed its curtain.
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