Things were going differently from what I expected. I didn’t think I would win this duel to begin with, but I never expected the third years to make their appearance. How cheap could these guys even get? You didn’t want to mess with us when the Prince was around, but now you were trying to bully your juniors like this?
The odds of winning, which were already slim, now became slimmer, though this probably wouldn’t change much.
However, that guy in front of me, Mayarton, kept staring at me as if he was thinking about how to truly educate me.
My classmates were equally surprised by the sudden appearance of this third year Champion.
If I named Ellen as my Champion she would be willing to come up. But no matter how good she was, would she be able to beat a third year? He had been at Temple for two years longer than her after all.
Maybe, she would win. I had no idea what Mayarton was like, but she should be more than enough to win. If one wanted to beat Ellen, one had to be a superhuman or someone who had reached the limit of what a human is capable of. I didn’t think that this guy was someone like that. Someone as strong as that was very rarely found in Temple, so they wouldn’t do something meaningless like this.
Perhaps because of this sudden change in circumstances, there was one more person whose mood changed slightly, besides Ellen.
It was Adriana.
She seemed angry beyond perplexity, confronted with this situation. That calm senior was looking at me quietly. I could tell just by looking at her eyes.
Her eyes seemed to tell me that she would fight for me.
Adriana, originally, hated this absurd hereditary tradition anyway. She even told me that she didn’t like her seniors all that much.
However, now that there was a third year standing before me, seeing that guy butt in in a duel against a first year, it seemed like she couldn’t stand by anymore.
Adriana spoke to me with her eyes. ‘Make me your Champion’.
I thought I was going around fucking up my Temple life, but there were actually two people willing to fight for me. Had I actually been doing well?
“If there is no disagreement, the duel will begin immediately. If the outcome seems clear or if one side surrenders, the duel will end.”
“Teacher. I have something I would like to suggest.”
Mayarton looked at Mr Epinhauser and said:
“Can’t we just make it a rule that the duel will end if either side surrenders?”
“And what would be the reason for that?”
“The result is already pretty clear after all. However, I want to teach some manners to this rash junior here.”
So, unless I explicitly said I surrender, the duel wouldn’t end? He would definitely win with the normal rules, but he didn’t want the duel to end as soon as his sword touched me.
His purpose wasn’t to defeat me, but ro crush me.
“Reinhardt, do you agree to these terms?”
I’ve been hoping for that, you bastard.
“Yes, but instead I have a condition.”
“Which would be?”
Ellen and Adriana would both be willing to fight for me. Circumstances had changed, and I had been caught by a hell of a lot worse bastard than Art. Art probably would have wanted to fight me fairly.
However, that guy definitely would treat me a lot worse than him.
The situation changed and so did my judgment.
“Mayarton is a third year, and I’m just a first year. There’s a clear difference in ability in not just a single area.”
Mr. Epinhauser nodded his head as if agreeing with me.
“I want to use my right as a duelist and….”
Who should I call?
“Ask the opponent for a handicap.”
I didn’t call for anyone.
When Ellen talked to me the other day she meant that if one thought about what kind of duel this was, one would think of choosing a champion.
However, when Art nominated his champion, I thought of something else.
If there was just too much strength difference between you and your opponent, you could give the opponent a handicap. That was the kind of situation I was in right now.
Neither Ellen nor Adriana seemed to have expected that I would use the handicap instead of nominating a Champion. Yeah, I wouldn’t have thought to use the handicap either if this Champion didn’t suddenly appear.
Mayarton burst out in laughter at my words.
“Junior, are you seriously planning on beating me?”
He was smiling, but seemed to be really angry. It was like he thought that I believed that I would be able to beat him if I just gave him a handicap. Mr. Epinhauser, the observer of the duel, nodded.
“Good. During the duel, Mayarton is forbidden from using his left hand.”
It wasn’t Mayarton who gave himself that handicap, but Mr. Epinhauser. Mayarton snorted at him and hid his left arm behind his back, as if that handicap didn’t matter at all.
Before I wouldn’t have thought that to be a big handicap either, but I had learned what an important role the hand which didn’t hold the sword played while sparring with Ellen. Having one arm sealed away was a huge handicap.
Of course, it would be very unlikely for me to surpass this power difference with just that.
Then, before everyone’s eyes, Mr. Epinhauser declared:
“Start the duel.”
Mayarton didn’t immediately rush at me. He held his training sword in his right hand and slowly approached me with his left arm hidden behind his back. I didn’t have a single strategy in my mind. Would the countless skills I learned from Ellen really work on someone like him? If I had some good skills, I might have been able to overcome this gap, but I only learned some things by sparring.
I didn’t even know proper swordsmanship yet. It would be arrogant to think that I learned it properly when I only just learned a few techniques.
That guy approached me as if he just went out for a walk, he wasn’t feeling wary of me at all.
“Did you freeze up?”
When the man approached me with his sword pointed forward and tried to enter my range, I pushed his sword to the side and tried to push in.
However, as if he saw through all my movements, he powerfully slashed at the sword I was holding with both of my hands, while he held his with one hand.
That shock forced me to take a few steps back. Even though I was holding my sword with two hands, it felt like my palms were going to tear apart.
Mayarton stared at me, having been pushed a few steps back.
I was very confident that he’d be able to subdue me right at this moment, but he was trying to play with me. He was trying to trample my pride and make me realize that I was nothing in front of him. Mayarton leaned over his body and ran straight at me.
Then he started attacking me.
He attacked the sword I was holding, to be exact.
As soon as I let go of my sword, he kicked me in the stomach.
I realized something as soon as I collapsed to the floor together with my sword. Until I surrendered, until I bent my pride and surrendered.
That guy would continue this.
“What are you doing, Junior? Letting go of your sword like that.”
He kicked the sword I dropped towards me.
“Pick it up.”
As soon as I picked up the sword, Mayarton rushed at me and hit the side of my training sword once again.
The sword slipped out of my grasp and rolled to the floor again.
Mayarton smiled at me.
“Pick it up.”
I could see now why Ellen trained me to properly hold my sword and not let go of it.
She knew that they would do this to me.
The power of my grip was gradually getting drained away.
“I really don’t get it.”
Every time I let go of my sword, he would hit me with his elbow, kick me and knee me as if I was being punished for it.
“Someone like you, who has no skill or credibility.”
“Why did you decide to mess with us?”
He had no intention of subduing me. He saw me on the floor and kicked the training sword towards me.
He blew away my sword and gleefully watched me pick it up again.
The humiliation given by the act of having one’s sword hit out of one’s hand and made to pick it up over and over again was no joke.
I felt miserable and ashamed at the thought that I was only on the level of a toy for my opponent. Nothing had changed about that even if he was just a piece of trash that found joy in beating up his juniors who were two years younger than him.
I knew I would lose and I knew I would get humiliated like this. In addition to the humiliation I felt, the pain all over my body was enormous as what he was subjecting me to was more like corporal punishment than an actual fight.
I held my sword again, and it got slammed out of my hand yet again.
My palms were torn and bleeding.
This was no longer a duel. It wasn’t a duel to begin with. He didn’t treat this as a duel from the start.
He just casually walked towards me, swung his sword lightly and make my sword bounce off. Then he kicked and slapped me when I was defenseless, treating me like a joke.
He looked down at me as if I was pathetic as I was continuously falling down and getting up.
“You’re nothing before a Swordmaster.”
“Stay down, you bastard.”
“How good things would have been if you acted nicely.”
“You lost. Come on, say you surrender. That would be more comfortable for you, right?”
“Well, fine by me.”
He kept insulting me, not showing the slightest bit of sympathy as I kept trying to get up.
I was a filthy bastard, but that guy was a little different.
That guy wasn’t just dirty, he was cruel.
As I was trying to cover up my lack of ability with acting dirty, that guy did it by acting cruel.
And he was clearly incomparably stronger than me.
The more I got up and tried to resist, the more he seemed to be pleased rather than showing admiration for my endurance. It looked like that guy felt delight at his victim’s futile stuggle.
I felt the atmosphere around me as I grabbed my training sword again.
There were no emotions in Mr. Epinhauser’s expression and eyes.
However, most of my classmates’ expressions were distorted.
There were cases like that.
In any kind of event, if one side was starting to lose miserably, there would be some who would unwittingly start to cheer for that team.
They don’t want the other team to be so helplessly crushed, so they want them to do a little better.
Now I was on that miserably losing side.
Harriet de Saint-Owan, who showed delight at first at me receiving some true education, was also at a loss. Her complexion was completely white. She looked between me and Mr. Epinhauser. It was as if she was asking with her eyes why he didn’t stop this fight even though it was clear who the winner was.
She had been imagining it, but she didn’t think it would be like this.
I didn’t know I would end up this miserable either.
Some were calm.
Ellen was still looking at me and so was Charlotte.
Rather, the people who loathed and hated me were the ones who got terrified. It seemed like they thought that I would end up dying like this.
Even though duels at Temple could be called child’s play compared to actual duels, it was still a duel after all.
It wasn’t at the level of a simple match.
The duel wouldn’t end unless someone surrendered. Even Mr. Epinhauser wouldn’t intervene unless my life was at risk.
I didn’t even want that kind of intervention. Watching me crawl back up again, the other kids’ faces distorted, not Mayarton’s though.
It seemed like he wanted me to surrender.
He wanted me to admit defeat and back off.
I didn’t know why I was doing this. In a complete mess, I looked at Mayarton with my whole body aching as well as my hands.
I wouldn’t be able to win.
However, the wind seemed to be picking up.
Although I wouldn’t be able to win.
That wretched, cruel, fucking bastard.
“You, I’ll get one in.”
Even if I got crushed and trampled over, I would definitely get in a single punch.
“I’ll fucking get you at least once, you son of a bitch!”
I would at least get one hit in.
The reality of my coming defeat or any plans I had about developing my supernatural power by putting me in an extreme mental state, all of that was forgotten in my seething anger.
I got hit too many times.
I was hit so hard, that all the heat rushed up straight to my head.
If I didn’t get even a single bite out of that fucking bastard, I wouldn’t be able to sleep for the next month or so.
I rushed at him with all the strength I still had left, and prepared to use something. If I would hesitate, he would either kick me or hit me with his sword.
I never planned on using this for something like that.
But, I was so fucking annoyed that I couldn’t take it anymore.
[Used the ‘Revise’ Function.]
[20 Achievement Points are required to trigger this event.]
I hit the sword that blocked my eyes and made ‘something that originally shouldn’t happen’ happen right at that moment.
It shattered the moment my sword hit it.
The sword that blocked mine broke, dyeing Mayarton’s expression in surprise.
At the same time as my training sword struck his head, I rammed my knee into ‘the place’ that started this whole duel.