The match against Rutum was set to start after a short break.
「I don’t want you claiming you lost because you were too tired.」
I wasn’t sure whether it was his pride or maybe even kindness, but Rutum forced me to take a break.
At first, the plan had been to defeat all of his knights before facing him, but it seemed I would actually get to face him without having to take care of the small fries. Well, those knights were weaker than the knight I had just fought, so I didn’t mind cutting out those unnecessary battles.
「Yuna-chan, be careful. Rutum’s personality might be a bit difficult to deal with, but he really does have strength and skill to back it up.」
「Why did I fight the knight instead of him, what’s his name, then? Wouldn’t it have been better for him to participate himself since his job was on the line?」
I could have gotten even more out of it if that had been the case. If he was the strongest, just why had he let me beat up the knight instead of him?
「That knight is Figo. I don’t think anybody thought that he was going to lose. Figo is quite an exceptional knight, so, normally, nobody would think that Figo could possibly lose to a small girl like you. Like, how many people here do you think could win against you?」
Basically, he had believed that even the second strongest person could easily win against me.
Hadn’t anybody taught him not to judge a person by their appearance?
As I pondered this, Figo, the knight I had battled earlier, came up to us.
「Eleanora-dono, just who is this girl?」
「My, that’s a secret, of course.」
「Having my sword stopped by those small arms of hers… was simply baffling.」
Well, I had only been able to do it thanks to my Bear Hands.
「Also, I could see that her advanced swordplay must have been the result of countless hours of combat practice. It is impossible to handle a sword like that unless you have the experience of using it in real combat.」
In my gaming days, I had used the sword against people all the time. I had faced many different gamers with many different playstyles, winning against some, and losing against the others. The experience from the game had been of great use in the match.
「Not to mention, she can even use magic. I had planned on holding back, not using my magic to make it fair, yet she was moving so quickly that I was forced into using it. I was so shocked when she dodged it, and then, when she completely overpowered me with her own magic…」
「I was also surprised by how fast you move, Yu-Yuuna-chan. Those dodges of yours were magnificent.」
Eleanora-san still seemed to be having trouble with my fake name.
「With that timing, you shouldn’t have been able to dodge it.」
「It was just luck.」
Actually, it was because of a habit I had developed. In the game, when players had wielded a single-handed weapon and left the other one free, I had learned to keep an eye on the free hand. Some players would use it to cast magic, or carry a secret poison, a paralyzing knife, or something. Other players had been careful of that, too. I had only applied that knowledge in this battle.
「Still, with the strength of your earth magic, if you’ve used it right when the match began, I think I would have lost right away.」
Well, if I had known I had been allowed to use magic, I would have finished him off earlier…
But it had been more fun this way since I had gotten to chance to participate in a sword fight.
「Miss, I really enjoyed our battle, but I must warn you that you should be careful when fighting against Lord Rutum. If you can, I would recommend withdrawing instead… 」
「I have no intention of doing that.」
「I figured you would say that. I just hope you won’t get hurt.」
The knight left after his warning. He actually seemed to be a kind person.
「Yuna-chan, Rutum is calling for you. Are you rested enough? If you need anything, just tell me, okay?」
「I’m fine, really.」
I had barely used any magic, and thanks to my Bear Feet, my legs didn’t hurt at all. I was only a bit tired mentally. It had been a while since I last participated in a match. Still, it had been quite fun. Maybe it was because I didn’t have my Bear Suit on and couldn’t do anything too crazy, having to be careful of my opponent’s attacks at all times. Just thinking about having to focus so hard again brought a wave of mental tiredness.
Since there were no real problems, I started to head over. I noticed that Rutum had also taken off his armor, and only wore some light weight clothing instead. It looked like he also thought that heavy armor would be disadvantageous for him, especially after watching the previous match.
「Are you ready, Young Lady?」
「Ready when you are.」
「I want to smack that confident smile off your face, but instead, I’ll give you a handicap.」
I didn’t really need one. In fact, it would be more appropriate if I gave him one myself.
「Is this your excuse for when you’re going to lose?」
「I’d be troubled if you think I’m only as strong as Figo.」
I was definitely stronger than the knight from before, right?
I looked over at Eleanora-san.
「Yes, you are stronger than Figo, but as I mentioned before, Lord Rutum is even stronger than him. I’m not sure why he’s giving you a handicap, though?」
Eleanora-san glanced over at Rutum with suspicion.
「To make her understand the difference between us, of course.」
「Just asking, but would your idea of this handicap be?」
I asked instead of Eleanora-san.
「You can pick any rule you want, Young Lady. Like, you could say we couldn’t use magic.」
「I mentioned this earlier, but if I can use magic, I have an advantage, you know.」
「Like the earth magic you used against Figo earlier? Why don’t you try using that now?」
I created an earth wall with the same amount of magic power as earlier.
Rutum unsheathed his sword, and it shined with a glistening silver color. He proceeded to cut my wall down without issue.
「I can put magical energy into this sword and it will cut anything. Of course, it won’t go through your body if I hit you with it, so you don’t have to worry about that.」
There was no way I wouldn’t worry after hearing that.
In that case, wouldn’t I be allowed to use my mithril knives?
Well, using knives wasn’t really knight-like… Just as I thought about how to go about it, Rutum passed me a sword he had prepared for me, very similar to his own. According to Eleanora-san, it was a weapon used for practice against magic, reserved for high-level swordsmen, especially the price of these weapons was rather high as well. As I was getting a feel for the sword, I suddenly got a good idea for the match.
「Alright. Let’s make it a two-round match.」
「A two-round match, you say?」
「The first match will allow magic. If I win that one, then we’ll fight the next match without magic. If you can win either round, then you win.」
I suggested rules that were actually beneficial to Rutum.
There really was no point in giving me a handicap, after all.
「Young lady, are you trying to make fun of me?」
「You’re the one making fun of me. I don’t need a handicap, and I won’t be happy winning with one. Also, how could I possibly make you acknowledge female knights if you lost only while handicapped?」
Well, if I was being completely honest, he already was at a certain handicap since I had my Bear Hands and Feet on. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to even lift a sword, though, so they were a must.
「Fufufu. It’s been a while since someone made fun of me like this. Fine then. Just don’t start crying when you lose.」
With the match rules set, we separated from each other, ready to begin.
「Yuna-chan, are you really okay with that kind of rule?」
「There would be no point to winning in an unfair way where I get to select rules that fit me.」
「Even if you won while he’s handicapped, his influence would fall greatly as he will have to quit his job.」
「But he would still remain quite influential, wouldn’t he?」
「You have a point, but for such a reason… 」
If I didn’t win without relying on a handicap, this person would surely try to get himself out of trouble with excuses like running out of magical energy or letting his guard down. It was better to give him a handicap myself. First, I would win using magic and then decimate him completely with my sword.
We readied our swords, and Eleanora-san signaled the start of the battle.
I shot out an Air Bullet while running towards him at an angle. Rutum easily cut down the Air Bullet with his sword, so I followed up with a barrage of them, but he cut them all down as well.
「Is that all you’ve got?!」
Well, I couldn’t use my strongest magic or the surrounding area might end up being destroyed, but I really wanted to wipe away that arrogant grin of his.
If wind magic was no good, then how about a mud balls about the size of a baseball? I shot a few of those at Rutum, but none managed to hit. He shouldn’t be able to dodge everything forever, so I shot a few more, while keeping the distance between us. Just when I thought one would hit, Rutum simply cut it down with his sword, which shone with a pale hue.
He was capable of cutting them down, huh. It seemed like I would have to try harder.
After Rutum cut down the mud ball, he counterattacked, sending the same type of mud balls towards me. Was he trying to show off by mimicking my magic? I could play the same game.
I poured magical energy into my sword and cut down the balls with ease.
Rutum didn’t wait for me, however, and used the chance to close the distance between us, swinging his sword at me.
I dodged his attack without much of an issue, but he quickly followed with fast slashes. I tried to dodge them all, but eventually he slipped one by and I had to block it.
「You’re really planning on taking these blows? I wonder how long you can hold on for」
As he said that, hot flames began to burn along his sword’s edge.
Although my Bear Hands were resistant to heat, I could clearly feel the heat on my face.
「I can’t be held responsible if you get burns on your face.」
Rutum added and put more magical power into the flames, but I quickly engulfed my sword with water magic to counter it.
As the fire and water clashed, a huge cloud of steam was formed and blocked our vision, so we disengaged. Not wasting time, we both used wind magic to clear out the steam.
This reminded me of my magic swordsman gaming days, where I had been able to easily wield both sword and magic. Rutum might have a bad personality, but with this amount of skill, it made sense for him to be a commanding officer.
「You’re quite capable, Young Lady!」
I felt the same way about him, but I didn’t really want to say it.
We had only cut each other’s magic attacks with our swords and hadn’t used any lethal attacks. I didn’t know where Rutum stood on this, but I myself couldn’t go all out with my strongest magic as it might damage the surrounding area, potentially hurting the audience.
I could maybe make little Bears using my Bear Magic, but that was the most I dared to do. I also wanted to see if that sword of his was able to cut down my Bear Wall.
Still, I had decided against using Bear Magic in this fight. It was just too strong. Not to mention, if I put on my Bear Suit and used those skills, people might find out who I was.
Now that I had finally managed to get away from the clamors about the Bear Suit, I really didn’t want people to find out.
I had plenty of ways to win, anyway, even without my Bear Magic.
We started casting ranged magic and blocking it with our swords before Rutum got impatient and rushed towards me.
However, I was waiting for him to do that.
I began silently casting my magic without him noticing and he only realized something was going on below his feet too late. He tripped and fell flat on his face, just like characters in manga often did.
I stepped up to him and pointed my sword at his neck.
「This is my win.」
「With such an underhanded trick?」
「You’re the one who stumbled and fell.」
Rutum had only noticed the magic when it had been too late and by then, he had already tripped on the small earth piles I had made at his feet. He had fallen into my trap completely.
I had only been tricking him with all the other stuff: this had been my trump card. I often used such tricks during my gaming days to have my opponents focus on other things and then launched a surprise attack that demolished their flow and brought me to victory.
I honestly hadn’t believed such a simple trick would have worked here, though.
Well, the trick might have looked simple, but it was still rather difficult to pull off. As magic came from our bodies, it had been quite difficult to silently shapeshift the earth so far from me, not to mention the amount of energy it had consumed.
Eleanora-san seemed a bit troubled as she looked between the fallen Rutum and me before finally declaring my victory.
Unlike my match with the knight, nobody cheered this time. Instead, I could hear snickers and laughter. Rutum stood up and glared at the crowd, causing it to stop. Some of the people watching the match must have thought that Rutum had fallen on his own. Rutum then directed his glare at me, clearly mad that I had turned him into a laughing stock.
It had been his own fault for not watching where he was going.
A win was a win, no matter how underhanded.
「Alright, magic is prohibited in the next match.」
「I may have lost to some underhanded magic, but I will say this: if you can win against me with your sword alone, I will acknowledge all female knights and even let you marry my son.」
Eh?! Didn’t that mean that even if I won, I would still end up doing the punishment game?
Usually, when one won, good things happened, not the other way around…
I had to find a way out of this.
「I don’t want to marry him, though.」
「I’m allowing you, a commoner, to marry a noble. You should feel honored!」
I didn’t feel honored at all. Hadn’t he been saying his sons would be marrying Shia and Noa?
While I tried to find my verbal rebuke, the bell for the second match rang.
Compared to our magic match, this one wasn’t so back and forth. Instead, we just directly exchanged blows with our swords.
Relying on the power of my Bear-san Puppets and Bear Shoes, I handled Rutum’s attacks quite well. I warded off his attacks by adjusting my body and dodging the strikes instead of frontaly blocking them. This was my old, usual tactic of trying to waste my opponent’s energy while saving my own.
As a magic swordsman, I had learned that it was hard to win against a physically-attributed character in a head-on fight. It was much more efficient to dodge and ward off their attacks to wear them down first.
「How about this, then?!」
I hadn’t practiced the tactic in my match against the knight earlier, so perhaps my flow wasn’t good enough, because as I dodged his sword, this time Rutum stuck out his leg out, surprising me completely.
Still, thanks to his warning, I had managed to block it with my left hand and even ended up knocking him off balance.
「I already realized this in our previous match, but I really couldn’t ever imagine that such a small girl like you could be this strong.」
Rutum said with a smile. Was he going crazy from the heat of battle?
We continued our dance of attacking, dodging, and blocking. Any time we found the chance, we used our legs or even bare hands to help us.
Since I couldn’t use magic, I decided to pick up the pace as I didn’t know how long this battle would go for.
Everybody, including Eleanora-san, just watched us in silence.
This match continued for a while longer before finally ending in a disappointing fashion, with Rutum’s legs getting entangled. He walked around swaying for a while then fell to the ground.
I didn’t know what was happening for that moment, so I just stared at him.
「What’s wrong? Why aren’t you getting up?」
After all that fighting back and forth, I didn’t think we would come to such a conclusion.
「We aren’t done yet, are we?」
「This is my loss… I can’t even stand anymore.」
When I looked closely, I noticed Rutum’s legs were cramping up.
「I cannot win against my age. This is your win… 」
When Rutum declared his loss, the plaza erupted in cheers.
Eleanora-san approached us, seeing it really was over.
「I must say, it was quite difficult to beat you without using magic.」
「Of course. Just who do you think I am? I am the commanding officer of a chivalric order. Oh, that’s actually incorrect. I am a former commanding officer. Did you really think you could take someone like me down that easily?」
For some reason, Rutum looked like he was feeling refreshed instead of defeated.
Just what was with that satisfied expression of his?
「Alright, now that I won, you better keep your promise.」
「Yeah, letting you marry my son, right?」
I yelled and sent a Bear Punch into his face, not caring about the fact that he was still on the ground.
I can finally see the end of the School Festival Arc.
It should come in a couple of chapters, maybe?