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As we weren’t going to watch this time, we were led through a different hallway that would take us to the stage.
“Please wait here a moment.”
But first, we were left in a room without any further explanation. The other competitors were also present. I suppose it was the waiting room… I saw my own opponent, Kapricorn Shteiner, was standing in the back.
Everyone’s eyes turned towards us as we entered. But only one person stood up and walked towards us. The one with the blindingly white outfit. His white cape was a particular eyesore. But perhaps it held some religious significance. I decided that it was better not to make any comment on it.
“Good morning, Daniela. You are as beautiful as ever.”
“Asagi. Looks like there is an empty seat over there.”
“Yeah. But you can take it. I’ll stand.”
“Really? Thank you.”
We walked past the blinding pillar and headed towards the table in the center of the room. Daniela sat down in the empty chair and sighed comfortably. There were drinks and some snacks on the table.
“Asagi. This one looks good.”
“I’ve never seen it before. Hand one over.”
I sat on the table, fully aware that it wasn’t the best display of manners, and began to eat the thing that Daniela had given me. Hmm…it was sweet. And not bad. I might have to buy some later.
“…I have never met someone so persistent in their insolence.”
The man in the cape was shaking.
“I should kill you.”
His face was so distorted as he spun around that I couldn’t help but chuckle. Still, surely the proud light elf wouldn’t mind.
But Adlus didn’t say anything after that. He just folded his arms and leaned against the wall. It would have been better for everyone if he had done that in the first place.
“Ah, what a terrible air you’ve created.”
A voice sounded from next to me. Hmm? I didn’t recognize the person.
“So, you’re Asagi, right? Daniela’s lover.”
“Well, uh, yeah. I am…”
“Ahh, forgive me. I haven’t introduced myself yet. I am Henrich Azsilf. Like you, I am here on recommendation.”
“So it’s you. Asagi Kamiyashiro. Nice to meet you.”
He shook my offered hand. Yes, this was the kind of reception I’d expect from such a social interaction.
“I came from a town that is southwest of the imperial capital. It’s rare to be recommended like this you know? It’s a great honor.”
“I see… Uh, sorry if I’m mistaken, but are you an elf?”
He had blue hair and pointed ears that were hard to miss.
“Oh, you really are the lover of an elf, aren’t you? Was it that easy to tell? Yes, I am a blue elf. I’ll be three-hundred and thirty-eight this year.”
“I knew it. So you are ten years older than Daniela.”
“Haha! That was quick. But yes, and I would be about thirty-five in human years!”
I glanced over at Daniela. She was not amused. But I was.
“If we’re lucky, we’ll fight against each other on the second fight. But my opponent is quite strong, so that’s not too likely.”
“Oh… So he’s not just shiny.”
“Hehe… You do make me laugh, Asagi…!”
He looked embarrassed, as the rest of the room was looking at us. Adlus may have been strong, but he hadn’t made the best impression here, thanks to us. Well, I didn’t really care what others thought. He was straight up trash in my eyes. It felt good to see his reputation tarnished before the fight, even if it was just a little.
Daniela raised her face and looked towards the door. There was a click and the door was opened. It was the same person who had led us here.
“Thank you all for your patience. The stage has been prepared. You will now be introduced in front of the audience. Then there will be an explanation of the rules and the announcement of the prize.”
Announcement of the prize? We had talked about that before, but weren’t sure what it would be. So it had been a secret after all… No wonder.
“So, please follow me.”
And with that, everyone stood up and walked out of the door. As we started to move towards the door, Alenbia Ef Quingeria, the noblewoman, stopped us.
“Um, Mister Asagi, sir.”
“Uh, nevermind… Uh, well… Good luck in the fight.”
“Oh. You too.”
It was always awkward talking to nobles. Well, except for that young girl I had helped. Alenbia didn’t say anything after that and quickly ran on ahead.
“What was that about?”
“Maybe she’s a fan?”
“Haha! Surely not…?”
Just then, I felt something brush against the back of my head.
A chill ran up my spine and I spun around. But there was no one there. When I looked at the door, Kapricorn Shteiner was walking out. He was the last one.
“…What is it?”
“I… It’s nothing.”
It had touched my hair. That sensation… It was like that piercing gaze I had been experiencing. But it was growing more tangible…
Unbelievable thoughts swirled in my head. No. But, no… And there was no point in thinking about it now. Right now, we had to head to the stage.