Chapter 7 – Baptism and Excitement
The place that Mr. Gawain took me to was a training ground that was separate from the one for the entrance trial.
As we were in the center of the kingdom’s world of magic, the facilities here were substantial compared to the academy.
“Woah, Mr. Gawain really is going to do it.”
“This will be a sight to behold. I can always work later.”
“Just for ten minutes. Please let me rest for ten minutes, as if it is a smoke break.”
Robed magicians began to gather around the training ground.
Furthermore, more people from court were also appearing, and I became teary-eyed.
Do you really want to see me get beaten up so much?
And while I was being pushed to the edge like this, Luke seemed more amused than anything.
Damn it. You bastard… I looked at him reproachfully.
And then a thought suddenly came to me.
“Now that I think about it, you said that hardly anyone passed this test. But what about you, Luke?”
“I passed. And he bought me some expensive meat as a reward.”
“Of course you did, genius…”
We used to be close competitors, but now I was in such awe of him, and felt a sense of inferiority.
“You really don’t have to look so scared, you know? After all, we used to fight with magic all of the time.”
“That’s when we were students. I haven’t fought once since graduating.”
“But that just means that you’ve amassed so much strength since then. And you just have to unleash what power you have, without overextending yourself.”
Luke said as his sapphire blue eyes gleamed.
“It’s fine. You can do it.”
And then I realized it.
I had become weak-spirited yet again.
There was no point in being scared and only thinking about losing before I had even fought.
I had to remember how I used to be. When I wasn’t scared of anything.
Luke believed in me.
And so I had to believe in myself as well.
I can do it.
I…can do this.
With this feeling alone, that was like a prayer, I faced Mr. Gawain in the center of the training ground.
“Are you ready?”
He asked, and then I nodded.
“Then let’s go…”
And so the ‘Baptism of Hell’ began.
He moved so quickly that I could not even see the technique he was using.
The magic circle expanded.
What was then unleashed were giant fire bullets that looked like comets.
Within the blink of an eye, the first one shot towards me.
Multi-Cast without chanting.
It was an incredibly difficult skill, and an average magician would not even be able to make a light breeze.
However, the fire magic that was unleashed was strong enough to disable me with just a scratch.
In the nick of time, I cast Magic Barrier.
I was not able to kill the impact entirely, and I was blown back.
Immediately after, Mr. Gawain activated his follow up magic attack.
One after another, the fire magic was unleashed.
Forget using support magic, I didn’t even have enough time to think.
I could barely react in time and block what would have been the decisive blow.
But the attack was too heavy, and it carved away most of my strength and mana.
Without being able to do anything, I retreated farther back.
Like a leaf that is taken by the current.
He was just on a different level.
So this is the power of a Magus-rank Magician!
It was no wonder that hardly anyone passed this test.
The very idea of being able to last for sixty seconds against him seemed unreasonable.
The only support magic that I could activate amidst this vicious attack, was the magic that I was the best at.
That severe work environment.
In a state of ragged exhaustion, I had continued to use this support magic in order to keep up with the orders.
Over and over again.
With this magic alone, I was confident that I could activate it perfectly, even if my consciousness was fading.
However, against someone like Mr. Gawain, it hardly gave me an advantage.
Mr. Gawain’s movements became even faster.
I continued to layer on the support magic.
I cast the same ones as well, but as he had used strengthening magic to raise his base ability, Mr. Gawain’s firepower far exceeded any ordinary magician.
I didn’t think that it was something that a human could deal with while facing him. His vicious attacks were like a force of nature.
And the chain of attacks left me no time to catch my breath.
But then I noticed it. Surprisingly, my body seemed to be able to react to Mr. Gawain’s attacks.
Of course, it was all I could do to keep up, but I was still able to bear it.
This was a fighting style that I knew.
I knew someone who used Multi-Cast without chanting, just like Mr. Gawain.
So many defeats.
So much anger.
Hatred of losing.
Once more, once more. And we would fight again and again. A rival and a friend.
‘It’s fine. You can do it.’
And I believed it.
Luke had given me a hint.
It was those days when we clashed with all of our power that now gave me courage.
I could see.
I could react.
Next…was to counter.
I dodged, and unleashed my magic as a counter, which scratched Mr. Gawain’s left shoulder.
“Well, I did not expect you to get that far.”
Said Mr. Gawain with an amused smile.
“It looks like it won’t be necessary to hold back then. So now I will do this seriously.”
What was in front of me was an impossibly large wall.
And no one thought that I could overcome it.
However, this situation reminded me of that time.
‘Who are you calling a commoner! I was able to attend this school because my mother worked hard all by herself! That is something I’m very proud of, and I don’t care if you’re a duke’s son! I’ll beat you a hundred or even a thousand times!’
Excitement grew in my chest.
Why was that?
I didn’t know why, but I was starting to think that I could do it.
Just like before, when I felt that I could fly in the sky.
Look at me, Luke.
Someone who couldn’t make it in a countryside Magic Artificer Guild, and was treated as useless.
I had nowhere to work, and you picked me up.
You had expectations for me when I had nothing.
And you brought me all of the way here.
And I will show you now that your decision was not a mistake.
Now that I’m here, I will survive for sixty seconds and show that I am not behind you.
A smile crept onto my face.
And I thought I heard a faint, far away and familiar laugh.