Chapter 4 Episode 18
“it can’t be… This is impossible…”
Ousan Gurido doubted what he had seen.
From the mouth of Gurido, a warrior who had survived many battlefields, a small mutter filled with disbelief could be heard.
Before he had realized it, Gurido’s palms had become sweaty.
Having protected the Kingdom from the invasion of Ortomea Empire for many years, the Royal Order were composed of the best knights in the Kingdom.
Among them, this time he had specially chosen people with guaranteed ability.
Of course, because he thought that the reinforcements were a low-grade army he didn’t choose the best men among the Royal Order. but still, those chosen men were people with good quality skills and experience.
It could even be said with confidence that they were above-average knights.
Yet, those strong knights failed against young children.
“I can’t believe it… To think such commoners’ born children were able to use magic arts…”
The surrounding nodded in agreement to one of his aide’s remarks.
Certainly, those words were reasonable.
It was true that anybody could master magic arts if they trained, but normally commoners won’t even have the opportunity to learn it.
As generally known, there were two ways to learn magic arts.
One was by taking many lives and waiting for the Prana absorbed by the bodies to mature naturally, and the other one was by the method of being mentored by a teacher who had already acquired magic arts skills.
But in reality, it was hard to find a teacher willing to do that.
The biggest problem was the cost of hiring such teacher.
But there was also another problem, as most people know, magic arts were a powerful weapon, which could be turned into a shield, but alsocould be used as medicine as well, and for most people it was a symbol of status.
Although not all people who learned magic arts were aristocrats, it was essential for most aristocrats to acquire magic skills.
All of that came down to the sense of elitism, where it was said that those who learn magic arts were chosen by the Gods, thus magic arts could not be taught easily to others.
Actually being chosen by the Gods aside, it was the truth that those who had learned magic arts wouldn’t have much trouble in life.
During wartime, for meritorious services in war, some nobles could even enter the Royal family, and it was not a mere dream for knights or commoners to become a noble if they could use magic arts. Other than government positions, those who could use magic arts also have a sufficiently rich life as mercenaries or adventurers.
Magic arts were a convenient and easy-to-use technology in this world.
It was a technology that could drastically affect the life of human beings. That was the easiest way to express it in words. –
Which brought us to, if hypothetically a commoner could find a teacher to teach him or her, usually, they would be met with the first problem, that was that they would’ve been made to pay an astronomical amount of money.
That was why, normally in order for a commoner to acquire magic arts, he or she must continue fighting as adventurers or mercenaries and absorb their victims Prana, and wait for the day when the accumulated Prana inside their body awakened.
However, unlike his subordinates who felt surprised due to the sudden development, Gurido also realized the threat Kevin and the others possessed.
(Unbelievable… They can use magic arts at that age… Furthermore, the way they collaborate, such action can only be done after a considerable amount of training and actual battle experience…)
Because magic arts were powerful techniques, its handling was also extremely difficult.
Although it was not unusual to see a Knight who trusted their magic arts too much ending up dead against another knight.
There was also the difference in Prana one possessed between each individual.
Just like a car consuming gasoline, magic arts consume Prana, without Prana it was impossible to use magic arts.
And if no magic arts were involved, a Knight was only slightly stronger than a commoner, that was why, no matter how matchless a knight was, he or she would not be able to survive if they were being thrown into the battlefield alone.
Nevertheless, those who possess magic skills were always perceived as someone individually strong.
However, currently, Kevin and the others used magic arts skillfully while also defending each other as a team, they shaved the Zalda Kingdom’s knights power bit by bit, and were aiming for an opportunity to end the match.
(This is bad… We will end up being pushed by the difference in number… We should end the fight here…)
Gurido’s hands trembled after he realized the disadvantages his soldiers were in.
Zalda Kingdom’s knights were superior in term of skills and ability. –
However, the match had already ended when the surprise preemptive attack succeded, causing one of the knights to end up losing his fingers, and another one to fall unconscious.
With the success of Kevin and the others achieved through collaboration, they managed to overturn the battlefield.
(However… If we ended it here, that means we have to forfeit to such children.)
From the point of view of Gurido, Annet who didn’t cut off the knight’s neck meant that Kevin and the others have no intention of killing the knights.
However, on the other hand, looking at the way they cut one of the knight’s fingers meant they have no hesitation of injuring them.
(As long as nobody dies, huh? Fuck, I see. You’re making fun of us)
Now that the conclusion could be seen, if he followed his logic, he should have asked the match to end.
However, Gurido who understood the cost of losing this match could not agree to end the match, even though he understood the situation his men were in.
Gurido then directed his line of sight toward the only man who could end this match.
“Melissa! A bold move is not necessary. Listen, Support us and Annet. And chip off the opponents fighting strength!”
Kevin gave his instructions rapidly while also dealing with the knight in front of him with his sword.
In the first preemptive attack, Kevin and Annet managed to take down two of the knights, while the other two kept the other three busy.
Now the remaining knights were moving in formation while protecting the unconscious knight.
The feeling of mocking Kevin and the others for being children had disappeared from within their hearts. –
While the knights were fighting while relying on their steel armors and trying to find a way to escape their predicament, Kevin and the others delivered light blows repeatedly to keep the Knights in check.
“Platoon leader. If we stay like this, we won’t be able to hold out. We should push them here and settled it with one direct blow.”
In response to his subordinates who were currently defending against Kevin’s consecutive attacks, the platoon leader remained silent. He himself thought the same thing.
(Just like he said, we can only finish this match with one decisive action…)
Although the power of Kevin and the others attack was light, if the consecutive pressure continue to happen, it was clear that the knights would reach their limit.
Which left two options to take.
Continue fighting or just admit that they had lost and surrender, abandoning their pride in the process.
Because this was not a battlefield, even if they surrendered in this battle the people would still recognize them.
However, although it was against their will, this was also a battle where all the participants bet their lives.
Some people might think that they were trying to deny their shortcomings and use the match as an excuse to escape death.
If that happens they would end up miserable.
And even if other people might not care about such things, the knights knew that everything would be over if they surrendered.
Furthermore, if they choose to surrender here, their pride as knights of the Zalda Kingdom would fall to the ground, which would make them a subject of ridicule among their own peers.
“Let’s do it!”
In response to the platoon leader, the knight who was facing against Leon nodded his head. Nobody could see what kind of face the knights had but they were probably smiling just like a warrior who was prepared to fight to the death.
(Sorry everyone… Although it feels like we get the short end of the stick, and we might be unable to win, we cannot lose here either…)
There was no honor in a victory where somebody lost their lives during the match.
The feeling of remorse and self-responsibility for involving his subordinates in this useless match appeared inside of the platoon leader’s heart.
Still, he could not dishonor the Zalda Kingdom’s reputation.
They must keep the pride of the knights, even if that meant losing their own life, because if they did not do that, the morale of the knights would fall and the Ortomea Empire would be able to have their way.
As the knights resolved themselves, Grahart suddenly pulled out his sword and broke in between them.
And at the same time, Julianus the First’s words resonated.
“That’s it! Enough!”
Following that words, the surrounding cheers completely disappeared, and silence dominated the field.
Grahart who stood in between the Knights and Kevin, acted as a wall preventing them from continuing the fight.
Looking at the King’s chair, he was standing, overlooking the place.
And people’s gaze naturally were looking at him. –
“Y-Your majesty. Wh-What has happened? The fight is not yet over.”
The referee old man spoke in a fluster.
“No, that is enough. If we continue the fight any further, casualties will appear. Then because of it, a big lump of grudge would remain inside the hearts of both sides. Mikoshiba-dono soldiers have already proved to us that they are equal to our knights. Isn’t that enough?”
Considering the matter why this fight had happened, Julianus the First’s judgment was right.
Because there was no reason to fight in a life and death battle against the soldiers that had come as reinforcement.
However, the surrounding reaction of the aristocrats and nobles was quite different.
Some people nodded in agreement, others were feeling ashamed that their knights ended up losing against children.
Meanwhile, the one who showed the most dissatisfaction with the result was the referee old man.
“Your majesty! If we leave it like this, I’m concerned that the pride of the Zalda Kingdom’s knight would fall. Am I right? Gurido-dono?”
The old man turned his gaze to Gurido.
Looking at the old man referee’s behavior who most definitely was not neutral, Ryouma shrugged his shoulders in response.
“No, I believe nothing good would come if we continue the match.”
“What?! You bastard! Is that the attitude the leader of the royal order should have?! Be ashamed!”
Gurido’s shoulders trembled in response to the old man’s accusation.
Although he himself felt unsatisfied, soon enough they would have to fight decisive battles where the country’s fate would be decided, thus he could not let his subordinates die in a meaningless match.
“I said enough. This is an order from the King. The match is a draw. There’s neither a winner nor a loser. I want everyone to consent to this… Is Mikoshiba-dono also fine with this?”
Following Julianus’ words, the surroundings directed their gaze at Ryouma.
“Of course. It was an honor for us who are less skilled to be presented an opportunity to practice with everyone from the Zalda’s Knight Order. We just hope that our power could help Your Majesty and everyone else.”
In respond to Julianus question, Ryouma answered gracefully while bending on one knee.
“Very well. No one would think of your troops as a hindrance if they saw the match a moment ago. From now on, I request you to help this country… Is everyone alright with this?”
Julianus then directed his sharp gaze toward the surroundings.
Because the king had asserted that much, nobody could protest against him.
Despite all the hidden complaints inside their hearts, the surrounding people were silent.
(Now then, the development here is as expected… Well, I do feel bad if Elena is indeed betting on our victory, please do forgive me about that…)
Ryouma himself had put his own bet and urged Elena to do the same in order to appeal to the surroundings that the match was serious, but in fact, he had aimed for a draw from the beginning.
At least, Ryouma didn’t have any intention of killing his opponent to win the match.
(But still, that old man is indeed a big deal… they said that he was a mediocre king, but this proves once again he is not…I guess I can’t trust rumors about him now)
In the initial plan, Ryouma had the intention of making a suggestion to the King, but Julianus had made the decision before Ryouma told him so. Which meant, Julianus at least understood what would happen if the Zalda knights lost this match.
And he forcefully declared the match to end as a draw. Which made Ryouma think that rather than a mediocre king, Julianus looked like a big sly raccoon.
He continued to hide his fangs from the surrounding countries and made the neighboring countries think that he was a mediocre one.
(Well, I guess Lupis would not stand a chance against him… Also, it seems that that old man noticed it.)
That there was a poisonous needle inside his own country.
While kneeling on one knee, Ryouma stole a glance at a certain direction.
He was looking at the elderly nobleman who served as the referee of the match.
It was unknown whether it was because he felt responsible as referee of the match, but it was definitely unusual for someone to protest against the king directly.
However, his behavior indicated two possibilities.
(That guy… I wonder, which one is the reason he protested against the King?)
Was his behavior because he loved his country, or because he harbored ill will toward it…
Ryouma lifted his lips to form a smile.