Chapter 75 – Her Reason
A battle in front of royal presence.
A match between the most elite of the Royal Knights Order and the Royal Magicians Order. It was one of the most popular events in the palace.
His Majesty the king would be present, and the results of the games could affect one’s position and in the organization, as well as their reputation.
And so it was an incredibly important event for both sides.
“Wh-why was I picked for something so important…”
“The crown prince selected you.”
“But there are plenty of other magicians who are much more capable.”
“Indeed. But the important magicians tend to want to focus on their research. Besides, it would be dangerous to have people who are too strong compete.”
“Ah, I see…”
I recalled the magic of Mr. Gawain and Luke, that I had seen in the enemy base.
Indeed, I could understand how management would not want people like that to fight in front of the king.
“Besides, the one you are going to participate in is more like a punishment if anything. And so no one wants to do it.”
“Why is that?”
“Because you will be facing the Undefeated Holy Blade, Sir Rushford.”
I had heard the name of this knight before.
Well, I doubted there were people who had not heard of him.
He ranked number one within the Royal Knights Order.
He had fought seven hundred duels without being defeated.
Along with the Magus-Rank magicians, he was among the most powerful warriors within the kingdom.
In fact, one of the reasons I had boasted about being undefeated in four hundred battles while I was fighting against bullies as a child, was because I had dreamed of matching his record one day.
“I can’t do that! It won’t even be a fair battle!”
“Don’t worry. Management understands the difference in power. And so they should give you some advantages.”
“Ah, is that so? What a relief. I thought I was going to be killed.”
“It’s a strange rule, but all you have to do is survive for five minutes, and then you will win.”
“…Um, surely that is not all? Did you forget to tell me about how our Holy Blade is also going to be limited in terms of power, etcetera?”
But my superior just smiled and placed a hand on my shoulder.
“Don’t worry. You won’t die. I think.”
So death is a possibility then.
“You should participate in my place! Aren’t you Gold-Rank? That’s higher than me!”
“No! I have a cat waiting for me at home! I cannot die!”
“I don’t want to die either!”
“I will never ask you to do anything again! Please die for the rest of us!”
“I don’t want to!”
And though I made a show of objecting to this on the strongest terms, the truth was that there was nothing to be done, once the prince’s decision had been made known.
Ultimately, my public execution through combat had been decided.
“Why… Why did this happen…”
He was way too far above me. It won’t even be a proper match…
How was I supposed to survive in such a hopeless situation?
I thought about it desperately, but the time just passed without any solutions coming to mind.
“Ms. Noelle. They are holding a meeting before the event.”
In a room within the great palace.
I had been called to an extravagant drawing room for a brief preparatory meeting.
There were pure white sofas and marble tables.
Candlestands carved to look like birds held candles that glowed with orange light.
“Please wait one moment.”
The butler bowed with a beautiful gesture, and then he left the room silently like a wise cat.
Apparently, he had gone to call the noble who was managing the event.
The room itself was quiet. It was like sitting at the bottom of a lake.
And there I waited, with a feeling of anxiety. I didn’t know how long it was.
“Sorry. I’ve kept you waiting for so long.”
Said an elegantly dressed older man.
Even as someone who is quite dull when it comes to matters concerning the noble class, my senses were telling me that he was very high in rank.
“I am glad that you are participating. The crown prince seems to have taken a liking to you. He had even wanted you for the Kingsguard.”
“You-you are too kind.”
Apparently, he really did rate me highly.
Though, he was not someone who I could talk to, so it did not feel real.
“You should be happy about that. It is a great thing. To be chosen for this during your first year in the order. Though, you are unique in some ways, which made me a little worried.”
“Yes. A commoner from the western frontiers. And considering your financial situation, you would be considered near the bottom, wouldn’t you? On top of that, you are a woman who is also incredibly short. One wonders if you can actually use magic. Well, your achievements have proven you can, but this battle is a different matter. However, after considering the difference between you and your opponent, I warmed up to the idea.”
Said the nobleman.
“After all, we are talking about the Holy Blade. Unless one of the Magus-Rankers participate, it will not be much of a fight. And you know, it is never a pleasant sight, seeing those of noble birth being defeated. But no one will care if a commoner like you is shattered to dust on the ground.”
He said with a pleasant smile.
“No one expects anything of you. So you only need to stand there. And it will be fine.”
His words brought back an old memory to my mind.
Back when I was attending the magic academy, I had been one of a small group of commoners who were there, and those of the noble class would often voice their distaste regarding our presence.
‘Look what you’ve done now. How dare a mere commoner like you beat me…!’
Now that I thought about it, even he had said something like that to me.
And so I fought back.
‘Who are you calling a commoner! I was able to attend this school because of my mother’s hard work! That is something I am proud of, and I don’t care if your father is a duke! I’ll beat you up a hundred or even a thousand times!’
I smiled when I thought about my answer on that day.
Of course, I was an adult now, and I didn’t provoke people in the same way.
“The battle. Be sure that you do not miss it.”
That was all I said.
Once the meeting was over, I went straight to Luke’s study.
I opened the door and faced the person who sat there drinking tea.
“I want to win this fight. Help me.”