36 – The Combat Technique Tournament – Begins
‘…We have another heated summer this year! It is now the second day of the tournament, and time for the general division! The battle to determine the year’s strongest warrior starts now! I’ll be your commentator today, Konomi Abanesy from the Times On Fighter Information Department! And we have a special guest with us!’
‘Hello. It’s Emily, A-Rank Hunter.’
‘Ms. Emily competed in the finals two years ago, and her strength and charisma won her the nickname ‘Wind Rose.’’
‘I actually find that name embarrassing, so please don’t use it…’
‘I will not! Now, Ms. Emily! Who are the most promising fighters this year?’
‘You really are… Oh, nevermind. Yes, I suppose one would have to single out last year’s runner-up, Eliot. His skill with a magic spear is almost perfect.’
‘Yes. A combat technique that became popular recently. By synchronizing weapon and magic attacks, you can unleash such a barrage that your opponent won’t be able to catch their breath. Though, there are not many Hunters who do it.’
‘And why is that?’
‘Because of the issue of endurance. And in spite of the explosive power, it’s very difficult to use in a real battle. However, when it comes to these games, it could be very formdiable.’
‘Additionally, since you are able to freely choose your weapons in the general division, there are fighters with some unusual choices…like whip swords. I am looking forward to seeing how they fight.’
‘Yes! Ah, speaking of which, it is just about to begin! I cannot wait to see what kind of battles we will see this year!’
—While listening to the commentators through the speakers, Iria was trying her hardest to calm her nerves.
However, she then detected a presence behind her, and turned around.
“…There you are, Iria.”
Upon noticing his presence, the other students all got up from their seats as well.
However, her father waved at them kindly and made them sit down.
“Good day, Your Excellency.”
“Ah, Ms. Relei. I have heard stories of your brilliance. It seems my daughter owes you a lot.”
“Not at all. She is the one who is always helping me.”
President Sherry smiled and bowed as she gave up her seat next to Iria.
She was so perfect when it came to these kinds of things. No, perhaps this was how she was, and it was the other side that was deliberate.
“Father, wouldn’t you prefer sitting in the royal box?”
“Bah, I thought it would be nice to watch with my daughter for once. Besides, this will be my first time seeing him in a serious fight, and I was hoping that you could explain some things to me.”
As her father sat down next to her, Iria looked up with a slight feeling of confusion.
There was a large screen above the arena, and so you could view the fights clearly from far away.
“…Your Excellency has never seen Teacher Yukito in a real fight?”
Her father chuckled at President Sherry’s words.
Indeed, he had not seen how Yukito really fights. And yet he had chosen Yukito without hesitation. In spite of the fact that an embarrassing defeat could affect his reputation.
“Even if I have never seen it, I am still a man of the military. There are things that I just understand.”
Her father explained that he could see that Yukito was far stronger than him.
“Of course. Forgive the ignorance of a young…”
“No. Some things can only be understood once you have worked long enough. There is no need to apologize.”
Iria let out a sigh and folded her hands together.
Yes, there were things a military man would be able to detect, just by looking at a person.
However…that would not even show a fraction of his true ability. That was what she thought.
“Iria. You look quite anxious?”
Her father said. It was no surprise. She chuckled at how obvious it must have been.
“…I am a little…afraid.”
She could not find the right words, and so she just stared ahead.
“You said that this will be your first time seeing Teacher Yukito fight seriously.”
“But I don’t think you will. I highly doubt there is anyone here who can make him fight so earnestly.”
Upon saying those words, her father, Sherry, Rev and the others fell silent.
When she had first seen him fight…when he had saved her, the first thing she had felt was dread.
He was strong. —Too strong.
She had watched the games last year. Had any of those fighters been strong enough to defeat Yukito? She could not imagine it.
“And that is why you are afraid?”
What she was actually afraid of…
Was that his ability would now be known throughout the empire.
When that happened—things would never be the same again.
And so she was afraid. That once again, she was going to lose something.
However, she could not put such emotion into words, and so she kept her mouth closed.
But her father’s eyes seemed to still see through her, and she shuddered.
Still, he smiled, that soft, gentle smile.
“Well, all we can do is cheer and support him. Even though he hardly needs it.”