Chapter 9 ~ Gladiator Competition, First Round Qualifier
My body feels very heavy.
The stamina that was lost during our three days intensive training to the brim of our limit will not simply recover overnight.
Sati who had fought for longer period must be suffering more.
“Are you okay, Sati?”
“I’m not in the perfect condition, but I’m fine.”
We did a warmup this morning and from what I observed, she faces no difficulty to execute her move. She will not face any problem during qualifying.
The contestant is considered to triumph the first qualifying round with triple victories, and as soon they lose two matches, they are disqualified.
Besides that, there isn’t much difference between the qualifying round and the main battle in terms that the battle ended when one of the fighter falls. If someone landed a valid hit, based on the judging the winner might be selected.
Since there are a lot of participant, it isn’t possible to spend too much time in a battle.
There are still sometimes before the qualifying starts, so there are a lot of people still scattered around the stadium. Most of them are packing in front of the bulletin board to see the matches combinations.
Naturally, most of those people are the participants themselves. They all are huge muscle-head bastards.
However, there is no need for us to bother ourselves to see it up close. We have Hawk Eye, after all.
“I can see it, over there.”
“That one huh, number 777. That is a nice number.”
It is not as if there is a superstition among others that is particularly linked with this number, but it is still a nice number, nevertheless.
Number 777 is the sixteenth match for today. Next, I’m taking the bib from the registration counter. Before the matches start, we have to confirm the borrowed equipment that will be carried on.
The betting ticket will only be released tomorrow. The winning odds are decided based on today’s fighting performance. In other word, it is impossible to bet on Sati overwhelming victory. What a shame.
Once I returned to where everyone is, I told Sati her number and her matches, then I encouraged her and get to the avenue.
Only three of us are going, me, Ann and Sati.
Me and Ann entered the venue as the volunteering healing surgeons from the shrine. Everyone else will be watching by using the tickets procured by the elves residing in the Kingdom’s capital.
Although the shrine is in fully cooperation with the competition, due to the influx of people coming to the Kingdom’s capital during the festival period, there are shortage of hand among their healing surgeons. They also requested for assistance from neighbouring region, however due to the situation where there are still not enough hands during the festival period, all volunteers are welcome.
After Sati finished checking up on her equipment, and once she makes the confirmation, she enters the venue. In the meanwhile, me and Ann enters the venue by another route. We listened to the briefing regarding our job scope for today.
Once I slipped myself inside the priest’s robe, by no means am I friend with my comrade of arm anymore. I can talk to the person on top properly though.
Basically, we are to follow the instruction of the referee in each venue and cure the first injured person in front of our eyes.
Since I am an external help, I am required to assist in the place where there is shortage of hand. I am not really interested to help unless I get to go to where Sati is.
I separate myself from Ann and look for Sati’s venue.
The sixteenth match venue was set at the middle of the stadium.
There isn’t anything like a rope prepared. The venue is just a little bigger than a ring meant for professional wrestling or boxing tournament based on the line drawn on the ground.
There are around 50 participants inside one venue. The participants gradually gathered around the battleground and waited.
I too decided to stay over here silently.
Inside where Sati’s scheduled match is placed, there is a middle-aged priest and he greeted me. I took out a chair from Item Box and site next to him.
“Oho? I thought I was the only one assigned here?”
“I am a reserved. Since there are lacking personnel everywhere, I am tasked to help curing whenever there are a people with severe injury.”
“I see. I am Careis from Hazel Village.”
“I am Masaru. I am from the Siory town, an adventurer.”
“An adventurer you said?”
“This robe was given to me by my priestess wife. Since I often help and take care of the shrine, I got this robe for works.”
I am also dispatched from the Adventurer Guild, and actually that kind of story isn’t unusual. That much seems to have convinced him.
“Speaking about the Siory town, did you hear anything about the travelling Masked Priest?”
“Ah, if it’s only about the rumours……”
While listening to his story, I find there are minor exaggeration, so I lightly corrected him.
“That is not the story that I have heard before, though. The truth of what happening is——”
“Sigh—well, that is reality for you.”
Whether it is the wild rabbit or the masked priest, I wonder if the rule about rumours disappearing after 75 days applied to this world or not.
Don’t tell me, the rumours already fly all the way to the Empire……?
I asked him to tell me about various thing.
The real thing is more severe than I initially thought. If one is not prepared, then it is not shocking if someone ended up dead during the preliminary.
“If someone got instantly killed, then even with our treatment……”
He taught me several causes that usually lead to death. Pierced by weapons or broken neck. The real-life description makes them sounds grotesque.
This is a world where a strong enough person can overthrow a large dragon with a single sword. And there is no comparison between a normal fragile human body and a dragon.
Of course, since this is a competition during the festivals, there are precautions taken to ensure that deliberate killing an opponent is prevented. Yet, the contestants will still be fighting with all their might or otherwise, the battle will not be exciting.
I’m gradually become worried about Sati.
I’m sure she will be fine, but there are always some possibilities. Glad I could be nearby……
The game began while I was eating with the priest.
Sati’s turn will be at the middle of competition today. Opposite to me, she sits on the ground while mixing with all other participants. Apart from her occasionally glancing over here, it seems that she still retains her strength.
The battle was as intense as it was described.
If the gap between the abilities are apparent, then it is easier to do the judging. However, if they are about equal, then it is difficult for the referee to make the judgement. Equipped with an iron sword and leather armour, both parties are fighting for a kill. Their bones got crushed, and their bloods splashes. The participant might get a seriously injured.
But for such level there doesn’t seems to be that much people who is very strong too.
Indeed, this is at the level where Crook and the others might not win at all. The enemies rival me and Sati.
But still, that doesn’t make it easier for me as spectator. We alternate our role when it comes to minor injury, and when it is more severe, both of us will treat them at the same time.
Sometimes, I was asked to support the other group at the different venue, so I’m pretty busy.
And after I returned, it was just in time for Sati’s fight to start.
“This time it is a small girl.”
“But the opponent doesn’t seem to be that strong, too.”
I can only see the back of her opponent, the number 776. Right now, half of Sati’s appearance is hidden from my eyes too.
“Yeah. I wish both of them will not get injured.”
Everyone is fighting with all their might. More people get injured than I thought. It is strange to see that nobody is dead yet.
While I was trying to move to another place with better view on the ring, I heard the signal to start the battle, and immediately afterwards, I can hear the winner announcement.
Looks like the battle was finished in an instant.
Well this is Sati we are talking about; she is way overqualified.
Winner, number 776!”
Number 776……number 776!?
Sati went outside the ring and came here with a pale face.
Is this for real…
“How’s your injury?”
“There is no need for any treatment.”
“You still have other battle to participate, that’s why let me heal you for the time being. So, what actually happened?”
“……without I’m realizing it, I was already blown away.”
“Do you know them?”
“Yeah. I came across their party last time.”
“This competition is really high level. Do not get too distracted.”
Either Sati is having a difficult day, or the level of this competition is too high, which is it!?
Immediately, the call for number 776 second fight started.
Due to the shortage in time, the winner will be decided by them fighting as it is.
Once the signal for the start is released, number 776 immediately closes themselves to the opponent, and as soon the opponent was able to react, the sword was already put at the opponent’s neck.
It’s certainly a strange move, but it is not fast enough to hit someone by surprise. However, the opponent wasn’t aware of what happened, and they are staring off in puzzlement.
“Winner, number 776.”
Once again, number 776 was announced as the victor.
Number 776 turned around and look over here. Our eyes met. I instantly got a chill.
This is bad. It is outrageous to think that he looks anything but strong. Perhaps his age is around 30 years old. He has a gentle demeanour, but his postures exude no opening whatsoever.
The third battle. This time, his movement is normal. However, he still takes out his opponent quickly with a single blow. Another stops directly before the blow hit. It was just like the opponent does not serve as one at all.
At first glance, he doesn’t look all that strong. However, he doesn’t look weak either. I cannot measure his strength.
Once the battle is over, number 776 strut down here.
“Young girl, I don’t mean to hurt you in any way but if I do hit you, that wasn’t intentional. Your move is really good.”
“I’m just fine……”
“Do you not understand why you lost?”
Why couldn’t Sati react? Even the opponent from the earlier match experienced the same thing.
I heard a story about something like this somewhere before……
“Mubyōshi-uchi” [tl.note: no motion attack]
“It is an abrupt attack that makes your opponent lose their balance before making their first strike.”
“Mr. Priest here got it correct! No, it is a waste that you are just a priest.”
I thought that kind of attack only existed in manga, who knows it is applicable in real life.
“Is it fine to explain it to us and make it really understandable?”
“It is just a clever scheme. It will not always be successful.”
In other words, he is confident on his victory even after spilling out his secret. He is very formidable himself.
“Don’t glower at me like that. Since this young lady is strong, she will surely qualify. If we meet again tomorrow, it will be in the main battle.”
Just like that, number 776 went away.
“My physical condition is perfectly fine……”
Sati told me that it feels mortifying. I cannot simply cheer her up after witnessing something like that.
“This world is wide.”
I’m glad that I’m not participating. If not, there is undoubtedly that I’m going to have an upset stomach.
Sati’s next turn comes again after 2 hours, and this time Sati managed to safely defeat all her opponents in the remaining fight out of three.
As expected, Sati is in completely different level compared to the other participants. There is a remarkable difference in their speed.
It just that number 776 happened to be a powerful opponent.
The problem right now is how many powerful opponents like that are inside this competition.
“What to do next Sati? Shall we join with everyone?”
“Let’s gather everyone here.”
After Sati’s matches are over, I cannot go back home.
Although the matches here progressing fast, depending on the location, some of the battles are prolonged, so it is unlikely that we can see the end yet.
Despite we all come here to spectate Sati, after the second half of qualifying, the only participants remaining are those who only suffered one defeats or win three consecutive wins.
I failed to find anyone who might serve as Sati potential rival.
And then, late afternoon, all battle is finally finished, thus marking the end of the first qualifying round.
While waiting for Sati, I was mixed inside the gathering point for all priest.
Ann was……over there.
“Thank you for everyone hard work today. With everyone help, the first qualifying round ended without a single death among the contestant. Since the number of matches will decreases significantly starting from tomorrow, unless otherwise specified, those who works as volunteer are no longer required to work. If you wish to spectate tomorrow’s battle, you can do so at these special seats——”
Since I was not instructed anything, my turns appear to end by today. I will be troubled if my assistance is required for longer period, so this suits me pretty much.
While listening to the admirable looking man speech, I approached and call out Ann.
“Ah, Masaru. Splendid work. How was Sati.”
Together with Ann, we walked out from the priest gathering and we talked while walking.
“She lost a game but passed the qualifying. Naturally she managed to pass without any injury.”
“That one particular person is too strong. His attack feels like a surprise.”
“So, we really can’t win that easily, after all.”
Sati found us and come running to us.
“What are you going to do after this, Ann?”
“I don’t have anything particular to do later today.”
“Then let’s go back. The elves are preparing a luxurious dinner today as well.”
Everyone should already be at home. If there is nothing else to do, then we better go straight home too.
No, I need to drop by at the guild for a while and report today’s event to Sergeant dono. There is something that I would like to ask as well.
Such thought float in my mind while we go for the stadium exit, and at that moment, Angela! Someone shouted.
A woman wrapped in a priest garb can be seen heading towards here. She is a petite, floaty lady with a natural blonde perm hair, a cute lady with a set of round eyes.
“Rosa Beltrami. We attend the same theological school.”
“Long time no see, Angela. And these persons are?”
“This is Masaru, my husband. This is Sati. She is Masaru’s other wife and a participant in this competition.”
“Oh my? I heard that you married an adventurer but……”
“Masaru is also great at using Recovery Magic. In fact, today he is here to help.”
“Fuun……you look great. How is life as an adventurer?”
“Well, a lot happened.”
Certainly, there is a lot of unspeakable thing.
“Why don’t we find a place to slowly talk about things. Want to go eat somewhere after this?”
Ann looks at me while saying so.
“Why don’t you invite her over for dinner? Or else it is fine if you two go somewhere else.”
“Let’s do that then. I’m preparing the dinner at my place. If you don’t mind, why don’t you join us for dinner?”
“Please pardon my intrusion, Mr. husband.”
“Come, come. An additional person will not bother us.”
“If you said so, then I will do as you said. The mansion is located at……”
“It is fun after not meeting for so long, right?”
Ann was a bit surprised to find her friend here.
“Of course, I’m glad. Just recently, I was——”
After that, she proudly tells about her recent accomplishment. She energetically breaks down about her role being the youngest priest working at the Kingdom’s capital shrine branch, and how she is among the successful one among her peers.
Then she talks about the direction of her peers, a talk that I can’t help but to listen. There is no story about man at all.
Seems like the theological school is different for man and woman. Rosa chan was too preoccupied with work to talk about anything else.
“So, I plan to move to the great shrine next.”
“Wow, ain’t that amazing!”
The great shrine is the head shrine that worship Mithril divinity.
In other words, a promotion to the headquarters, the elite course. After returning from the service at the Kingdom’s capital, anyone can climb to a bishop or great priests’ position, or so it was said.
“If Angela remains at the Kingdom’s capital like me, then you can also enjoy the benefit of career advancement……it is a waste for you to retire at the countryside like Siory.”
Ann seems to be an excellent student among her classmates.
“Right now, I live in the upper part of the region.”
“The upper part, isn’t that the most remote region at the frontier!”
“Which part of the capital do you live now?”
“That is……unlike you adventurer I cannot simply live wherever I want.”
“There are various things that happened too suddenly.”
“Are you really fine doing the adventuring works? Angela, aren’t you struggling?”
“There are dangers on its own way, however my party earn good money you know? I mean, look.”
While saying that, she took out her adventurer card and show it.
“Masaru is an A rank you know.”
“That is amazing……just for a bit, Mr. husband, is that fine? I was worried since a while ago.”
Rosa chan says so and reached to me.
“Go ahead,” with Ann permission, she put her hands on my shoulder.
Apparently, she wants to check my mana.
Rosa chan quickly pick up her hands, and this time, she is hesitating to put her hand on my shoulder again.
“T-that is amazing.”
“Even among the elves, there is nobody with that amount of mana.”
“If anything, I wonder if that is too much.”
“Did you know that there is an Elf Country at the upper part of this region? Everyone meets the elf, but——”
While listening over both of them chattering, we stop by at the Adventurer Guild on the way home, briefly make my report and invite Sergeant dono for dinner.
Looks like Sergeant dono will return to his lodging first and he will come later after changing clothes. Well, he is going to have a meal at an aristocrat mansion, there is no way he will turn up in a leather armour.
And then, we arrived at the Elf Mansion located in the Noble District.
The Elf Mansion, aside from being used as the elf magician unit station, they are also used as an R&R for both servants and royalty. It also functions as embassy, so overall the mansion is big and impressive even compared to other noble’s houses.
“The Elf Mansion……you have connection with the elf?”
Like always, the elf employees and security guards line up and welcomes us politely.
“One of his wives is an elf. Um, we have two visitors today, is that okay?”
“Two more persons, correct. Understood. I think we can prepare the dishes in about 30 minutes.”
We head to the living room, passing through the elves who carefully lowered their head.
“Wait a sec, Angela. It feels like you are being treated as the guest of honour!”
“We are the guests of honour. I want you to keep this silent. Actually, he married an elf royalty. I will introduce you to her soon.”
“Adventurer who has ranked up are really something, aren’t they……”?
“Both the rank and the mansion are merely the result. He actually risked his life a few times.”
Rosa chan, after living in the countryside for a while, appears to have sympathy for the livelihood of a common adventurer, so when she sees how extravagant our living condition is, she got a mixed feeling.
“Eh, a territory!?”
“Correct. Masaru is phenomenally good in Earth Magic, so——”
After we settled down in the living room and the family introduction is over, this time, it was Ann’s turn.
Due to our connection with the elf royal family, there is a plan to build a shrine inside the territory. It is confirmed that a shrine is going to be build inside our village, but there is also a discussion regarding a shrine being build inside the elf territory.
The elf believes in the same God as humans, although in quite a different form. The elf doesn’t build a shrine. Instead, they worship the God through Spirit, so there has never been a shrine built inside the Elf Country.
“If the approval to build a shrine inside the elf territory is received, then it will become the greatest achievement in the last decades.”
However, the elderly elf lives a long life, and they are very stubborn. If it is something practical, then they are not going to interfere. But it is another thing if it involves faith. It was said that the elf already has something equivalent to the human priest.
There is also the matter regarding the necessity of a shrine. The shrine works are divided into three different division, with an exception for the part relating to faith.
The military division, Templar Knight. The clinic. The orphanage administration. All of those are already provided by the elf, so they are not necessary.
Whether to accept the proposal or not, these elves tend to take a long time to think over projects that is not required to be finished in hurry. They will not give us an immediate decision.
“Even to get them to consider it is already an astounding accomplishment, Angela!”
“We also plan to have a discussion with the chief priest of Laforet while we are still here in the royal city.”
“Eeh!? Even I have done nothing more than a greeting.”
The chief priest of the Kingdom’s capital is the head of the kingdom’s shrine.
The matter has increasingly turn serious for obvious reason, but it is still impossible to report our family composition honestly to the priest or the shrine side.
It is not something we are really secretive about, however if we are not silent and it got exposed then their confidence on us will be questioned. Well, that time during the masked priest incident, everyone got united and firmly held their tongue. If you ask, then I can confidently say that the matter will never leak outside.
It will never be that important, so it is fine.
While we are chatting, Sergeant dono finally arrived and we started to eat our meal.
At the other side, Ann is telling us the story about her student days, however at this side, I’m having a discussion with Sergeant dono.
“I am familiar with that skill. I will tell you how to counter it later.”
“Yes, thank you very much.”
The Mubyōshi-uchi. It is difficult to learn, and it held no effect on monster. For that reason, that technique is not taught at the Adventurer Guild.
“If you seriously want to learn about it, I suggest you go to Biels. After this festival end, you are heading to Empire next, aren’t you?”
“Yes, that was our plan anyway.”
Biels, otherwise known as the land where adventurer retires. It is also called as the swordsman training ground. Sergeant dono master, the Sword Saint is currently residing there.
“Oh, the sacred land of sword. I definitely want to go there!”
“I’d love to go too.”
I don’t feel like going, but it will be necessary for Sati. If she continues to grow stronger, then I will lose for sure during our training.
“I understand. I will visit once I get the opportunities.”
“That is good. I’m sure it will be a fruitful experience.”
Hopefully it will not be a painful experience……