Two Swords and a Spear
While it still bothered me, it was time to head out to the arena. The competitors who had gone ahead must have already appeared in front of the crowds, as I could hear explosive cheering.
“I’m getting nervous…”
“Do not be. Be proud, Asagi.”
I took in a deep breath and then exhaled. And then I raised my face and walked out of the door.
I had never been surrounded by the sounds of a roaring crowd like this before.
For a second, I wanted to shrink back. It was overwhelming and I felt stunned.
“They are excited. You should wave.”
Daniela said as she raised her hand. She was quite calm. Also, there were suddenly many more female voices among the roaring.
Nice. Maybe I’d give it a shot. I looked towards them and waved my hand. It was incomprehensible, but the shouting voices became notably lower. I didn’t understand.
And it was among such cheers and cries that we got up on the stage. I looked around again. The circular arena. The endless rows of people surrounding us. It was immense…
As commanded, we all stood in a line on the stage. The crowds then settled down as they wondered what would happen next. All eyes were directed at a single point. It was a platform that was raised higher than the other seats. It was tightly surrounded by military men.
There was an entrance behind it and a man came walking out. While he looked elderly, he was tall and stood strong and straight. It was the Emperor.
He scanned his people before raising both of his hands into the air.
“And now, let the main battle of the Imperial Sword Tournament begin!! The prize for the victor will be great!! And so I expect you to fight hard and bold!!”
His voice boomed throughout the arena. The crowd’s reaction was intense and it was clear that this Emperor was loved by his people.
“Long live the Emperor!”
The voices rang. Emperor Veldrid. Both his name and appearance suggested strength.
Once he made this announcement, the Emperor took his seat. There were a few others who sat near him, most likely important officials of the empire.
After that, several of the staff came out and handed us something. It was a bracelet. Everyone received one. And so I accepted mine.
“These are magic decoy devices. We do not want any accidents, so make sure to put them on.”
I see. It was a simple silver bracelet that was a centimeter wide. However, it was filled with engravings on the inner side.
“The one that I had was a necklace.”
So there were different kinds. As I looked at the thing, the announcer’s voice boomed.
“And now we will explain the rules of the game. Requirements for victory include evicting your opponent from the boundary, making them surrender or fall unconscious. In rare cases, the referee may pull them out as well. The match will also end the moment that the decoy bracelet is broken.”
That was a nice way of saying ‘when you die.’ Any attack that was big enough would automatically be dealt to the bracelet instead.
“You will be disqualified if you continue to attack after that. If your actions lead to an actual murder, then you will be tried by the laws of the empire and sentenced to death.”
I would hope so.
“The match will run for fifty minutes. If it does not conclude before then, then the judges will decide the victor. That is all. Please fight while obeying these instructions. Now, the first battle will begin. Macadenia Nikke and Bandi Ree! Everyone else, leave the stage!”
And with that, we descended from the stage. Macadenia was the dual-wielder, while Bandi fought with a spear. There were special seats reserved for us fighters. Kind of like where baseball players wait their turn in a stadium. I had been wondering if they were going to shove us back into the waiting room, so it was a pleasant surprise.