35 – Prelude
The Combat Technique Tournament, preliminaries.
In order to participate—you had to have a recommendation. That was it. Your age, experience and everything else was not taken into consideration at all.
Because that was the job of the person who recommended you.
While it was sometimes referred to as the general battle, it was not an official name. It was just a way to differentiate it from the students, which was a part of the tournament that had been added later.
On the first day of the preliminaries, there were matches for sword, spear, and martial arts in order to select the top eight. And on the second day, the matches for magic and the general division would do the same.
The students would fight on the third day. This would take place over two days, and each division would fight until the finals.
There was a lot of excitement for the student group battle on the fourth day, as the local military academy was seen as being most likely to win. In the end, everyone loved it when their team won.
And on the fifth and sixth days, there was the civilian tournament.
The tournament was held over the course of one week, but the tickets were not very expensive. However, sometimes the tickets for the last few days, especially the fourth, fifth and sixth, were resold at ridiculous prices.
There were scalpers even in this world…
Furthermore, many noble and multimillionaires were invited, so the VIP seats were filled.
In fact, the preliminaries were held at different times in different cities, so it was possible to see them all if you wanted to.
Well, with an event on this scale, you would want to move the dates apart. I could not even imagine how much money was being made.
“Ah, Yukito. How do you feel?”
It was currently the second day. In other words, the day of the preliminaries for the general division. The days I was going to fight.
I bumped into the Count in the hallway near the waiting room—or rather, he had waited to ambush me—and he raised a hand in greeting.
Next to him, stood a bald, portly man with very expensive-looking clothes.
“No problem at all. Though, I haven’t trained in a way where being on or off would affect the outcome.”
“Indeed. Haha. That is good to hear. …Now, allow me to introduce you, viscount. This is the one I recommended. Yukito.”
Viscount. I felt my eyebrow twitch at that word.
Ah, I see. So this was the one.
The man looked at me up and down and then smiled.
“Well, well. He seems like a weak little… Oh, do forgive me. I was just surprised, count.”
“Haha. In spite of appearances, he has tremendous skill.”
“Bahaha. How rude of me. Still, you do have some eccentric tendencies.”
To make a show of this little runt. I thought I could hear him mutter.
Of course, I did not say anything. Besides, I was not actually sure if this was even the viscount who was engaged to Ms. Aize.
“Ah, Count. I too have decided to recommend someone this year.”
And then a tall man appeared from a door next to the viscount.
Of course, I had already known that someone was waiting there. And I had assumed they were a participant.
A handsome man with green hair who wielded a spear. And while he had an elegant sort of look, it was clear that he was also well-trained.
“It has been a long time, Count. I am still grateful for your help last year.”
The count then explained to me that he was last year’s ‘runner up.’
It was the count who had recommended him for the tournament.
In other words, he had not been recommended by him this year.
“Are you the kid the Count recommended?”
While he spoke in an almost gentle voice, his eyes were visibly hostile.
“Hmm. I wondered what you would be like. I see. What trick did you use?”
Probably paid him off. His eyes seemed to say.
“Well, nevermind that. There is no need to hold back during the tournament. I hope you don’t hurt yourself too much.”
So this was the runner-up…
“Now, count. We must be on our way.”
Said the viscount, and the two started to leave. But as they walked…
“Count. The matter we discussed earlier. I hope that you will reconsider, if I win this year.”
“…I will consider it. If you can defeat him.”
The man with green hair snorted, and left in a huff.
“Lord Count. Is that…”
“Aye, Viscount Fobius. You would need to know his face in order to glare at him.”
Ah, of course.
But there was one other thing that I was curious about.
“And that matter, which he spoke of?”
“Ah. …He said that he wanted to marry Iria. Of course, I refused. And even if you were not here, I would not have recommended him this year.”
As I looked exasperated, the count shrugged his shoulders.
“Obviously, it is completely her own choice. I would not intervene with that. …Though, the mere notion of her marrying a man like that. No, it must be avoided.”
“Yes. After all…”
I said, and then the count, as if unable to contain it, burst into laughter.