NBAA Vol. 5 Chapter 3 Part 3
It was the day after Reito had returned from the ruins in the Forest of the Abyss.
He decided to stop by the Black Tiger adventure guild before heading for the Battle Festival. Reito would have ordinarily carried his Extermination Blade on his back when he did anything, but there was a rumor spreading that the hero involved in the Rotten Dragon incident used a broadsword to subjugate it, so he stored it away in his interdimensional storage.
As he walked down the street, he talked with Ullr, “It’s been a while since it’s just been the two of us.”
Normally, he would take Kotomin and Suramin with him, but Kotomin had gone fishing and took them with her. She loved fresh fish and would regularly go to the river to stock up.
Dain and Gonzo were acting alone. They were in a different guild than Reito, and the two of them were likely taking separate quests.
Reito was greeting the people he saw as he walked by.
“Hey!! Are you working today?”
“Reito-chan, thank you for taking care of our kid.”
“Of course, my pleasure.”
“Big brother!! Let me play with Ullr next time!!”
He was a familiar sight in the city.
Just at that moment, Reito bumped into a familiar group of three people.
“Oh, Mr. Reito!! Salutations!!”
“Oh, Reito-kun!! It’s been a while.”
“Tsk… It’s you!”
“Let’s see. That’s right… You’re Mr. Morimo, Ms. Mina, and… What was your name again?”
“It’s Gallow!! It’s the easiest name!!”
The three of them were Hailstorm Adventurers. They had joined Reito in the fight against the Rotten Dragon. They were in the same party, and Mina was a woman.
Gallow and crew had likely just got off work – they were carrying sacks that smelled like blood on their backs. Reito figured there was a monster on its way to be dissected. Ullr, with his powerful nose, made a disgusted face and backed away.
Mina was smiling, but she looked at Reito puzzled.
“Reito… has your left eye always been red?”
“Oh, that’s true… It wasn’t that color before.”
“What’s going on with your pupils…”
“No, I’m just a little tired.”
“Those aren’t blood vessels.”
It would take too long to explain, so Reito decided to change topics, “are you coming back from a job?”
“Um, yes. We were exterminating some monsters that had nested in the sewer.”
“Goddamnit. Why do we have to do this lowly kind of job…”
Morimo glared at Gallow.
“It’s your fault, dumbass!! You kept trying to fight with Shun… You got all of us involved as a result.”
Reito tilted his head to the side in confusion at the unfamiliar name. At the same time, he noticed that Gallow’s right cheek had a sword wound in it.
“What’s up with that wound? Do you want me to heal it?”
“Shut up!! I don’t need your pity!!”
“Gallow, put aside your pride and have him help you. You were pressing your cheek down while you were fighting. It hurts, right?”
“It’s just like Mina said. Reito, I apologize, but could you please heal him?”
Morimo said and put Gallow in a Nelson Hold.
“Stop it, dumbass!?”
Reito sighed, “Recover Boost.”
Reito approached Gallow and put his hand on his right cheek and used Recovery Magic on it. The wound was sealed and the scar slowly faded away.
Mina was impressed and complimented him, “Wow… Great job!! Was that support magic? You were able to heal him so fast.”
“That was surprising… I would have assumed you were a healing magician with how fast you just did that.”
“Tsk… Stop exaggerating… Ouch!?”
“Yep, it looks alright.”
Reito pinched Gallow’s cheek to make sure it was completely healed. He said some parting words and was about to leave before Mina grabbed him on the shoulder and stopped him in his tracks.
“Ah, wait a second, Reito-kun!! Um… I know it might be rude to ask after you just healed Gallow, but would you mind staying by my side for a minute?”
“H-, Hey! Mina!?”
Gallow started to get flustered at Mina’s word choice.
“What do you mean stay by your side?”
Reito tilted his head in confusion. Mina gave her bag to Morimo and drew her spear from her back.
“Would you mind entering the Battle Festival with me!! If I had someone strong like you watching back, I could feel assured that I’m safe.”
Reito was surprised – he didn’t expect to hear those words here.
Gallow was flustered, “w-, wait! Mina!! It doesn’t have to be Reito, right?”
“I don’t have any other magician acquaintances… Also, I think if it were Reito-kun, I would be totally fine.”
“Wait, what are we talking about?”
“Let me explain. The truth is…”
Morimo cleared his throat before continuing his explanation, “You know the Battle Arena? Recently, they’ve started allowing tag team knockout tournaments. You get a prize for staying in for five rounds. Mina has a certain prize she wants – the Crimson Stone.”
“The Crimson Stone? What’s that?”
“It’s a magic stone that enables the user to enhance their pyro property magic. But… Gallow and I can’t fight with Mina.”
“…Why is that?”
“It’s the tournament rules. You need a front guard and a rear guard. We are both front guards. But, there is a limit to the number of prizes, so we think it is better to participate as soon as possible.”
“I see, so you need my strength as a magician.”
It’s easy to forget that Reito is actually an inherently rear guard fighter as he is a Support Magician and Alchemist.
“Well, now I understand what Mina’s situation is,” Reito said and Gallow frowned.
“Hey!! That’s Ms. Mina to you. You are younger than her!!”
Mina stared blankly, “What? I don’t mind… Why are you so mad at Reito? I want to enter the tournament with him!!”
“Ngh… B-, But.”
“Just give it up, Gallow. We can’t help Mina here.”
Gallow made an awkward face and looked away. Morimo comforted him and put his hand on his shoulder.
“Besides, the Crimson Stone… I’d like one too. Maybe I’ll join Gon-chan.”
“What!? What about me!?”
“Kidding. Kidding. But, I wouldn’t count on my magic too much, okay?”
He said, but Mina shook her head, “don’t be so humble. I saw how incredible your magic was in the battle firsthand. I have high hopes!! But, before we enter the tournament, I wanna take a bath first… Let’s meet up at the reception of the arena at noon.”
“Got it. In that case, I’ve gotta go find Gon-chan.”
“Hey!? You’re gonna be my partner, right!?”
“I’m feeling a little sick…” Reito said in a deadpan voice.
“Don’t trick me!! Let’s do it!?” Mina said. Reito decided on a precise meeting time, and then they parted ways. Reito wasn’t able to make it back to the adventure guild and went home to get ready.
A few hours after they parted ways, Reito was standing in front of a large Colosseum-like building in the northern part of the city. It was the Battle Arena. It was built recently and a large number of spectators were lively inside. There were a large number of people who looked to be adventurers inside as well.
Going to the place they were designated to meet up at in the Battle Arena, Mina saw Reito and waved at him.
“There you are!! Thanks for coming!”
“Sorry to make you wait, Mina-chan.”
“Mi-, Mi…? I’ve never had anyone call me ‘Mina-chan’ before.”
“You have a similar shaped face as the cat my grandma used to own. So, I’m gonna call you that.”
The reception was crowded. The man in the pitch-black armor was in the front of the line arguing.
“What!? You can only participate once a day!?”
“Leave me alone, master… It’s because you went so crazy that the arena ended up as a wreck. I won’t ask that you pay us for the damages. Just please go home for the day!!”
“Hmph… I guess I went a little too far.”
“It looks like quite the contender is here…”
“What!! Um… that’s true.”
Reito looked at the armored figure as he spoke to Mina – she made a confused facial expression. She tugged on Reito’s hand to head toward a different reception.
“Oh, look. It’s open over there. Let’s sign in over there.”
“What about the participation fee?”
“It’s alright. I’ll take care of it. It’s only five silver coins for the tag team battle.”
“Really? You don’t pay how much you want?”
“That’s for singles. The rules are different in a variety of ways. For singles, even if you beat everyone, there’s no prize. In Singles, you can bring in your own weapons, but in tag teams, you can only use specified weapons. Magicians are allowed to bring in magic stones, though.”
Reito thought for sure he could use his own weapons, and he was shocked at what she said. But, he figured he could use Iceclad Sword to produce his own weapon.
Reito stood in front of the reception. Mina spoke to the receptionist.
“Excuse me!! We would like to enter into the tag team battle!!”
“I see. Please write your name here. The participation fee comes out to five silver coins.”
Mina frowned at the receptionist’s cold customer service, but she quickly filled out the form after seeing how many people were waiting.
“Okay, is this right?”
“Yes. This is correct. Is this your first time participating?”
“I will explain the rules of team tag battles. First, you are prohibited to bring in weapons. You must use the ones provided by you. There are a few restrictions for magicians, but you are allowed to bring in magic stones.
Everything so far was the same as what Mina had told Reito.
The receptionist further explained, “Next, in the event you are injured or die in battle, we at the Battle Association take no responsibility. However, in the event you need treatment in the arena, a healing specialist will be dispatched. It costs money, but we also have treatments and recovery medicine available for sale. Is everything okay?”
Reito figured that the Battle Association was the organization in charge of managing the arena.
The woman discussed the details of the battle.
“Next, I will discuss the form the competition takes. The participants will fight with monsters in five battles in a row that have been prepared in advance. I can’t tell you what kind of monster and how many there will be, but there are monsters ranging from low-danger goblins who come in groups and massive ogres who are often alone.”
“So, we just need to get through the five rounds, right?” Reito asked but she shook her head.
“That’s a little wrong. You are only allowed one try, and your time limit is fifteen minutes.”
“During those fifteen minutes, five rounds of monsters will be released. We will be adding more monsters the more the fight goes on, so either you need to defeat the monsters, or you need to make it out alive after fifteen minutes.”
Reito was in a cold sweat, but Mina looked like she already knew that and had very little reaction. When he asked why things are like that, it was because there were too many participants, and they wanted to shorten the amount of time needed.
“After the battle starts, whether or not there are monsters remaining, we will release more monsters after a 2-minute break. Conversely, if you are able to defeat all those monsters in that 2-minute window, you should have a little time to rest.”
“That sounds right…”
“Further, as a general rule, we allow you to forfeit, but we don’t recommend it. A large number of spectators come to the arena and amongst them are powerful aristocrats and adventure guild personnel.”
The receptionist was trying to imply that if you perform miserably in the battle, your reputation as an adventurer will worsen. Reito and Mina gulped at the threat.
She pulled out a crystal ball and held it out in front of them.
“Lastly, I will conduct a profession check. Place your hand on the crystal ball.”
“What’s this? Fortune-telling?”
“No. This is a magic tool to check people’s occupation.”
“Okay, I’ll go first.”
Mina put her palm on the ball and text came up.
The receptionist looked at it and wrote down the occupation on a form with her quill. She seemed to be writing in the profession.
Reito went next.
“Does this work?”
“That should be no problem. Your job is… this?”
The receptionist frowned after seeing his job and looked at Reito as if he were a fool and chuckled a little. Reito remembered for the first time in a while how unprestigious his job was.
“I apologize, but are you taking the challenge seriously? I suppose you have already paid your participation fee, so there is nothing I can do to stop you…”
“Hmm… By the way, what is the strongest monster here?”
“Strongest… I believe it’s the Minotaurus, to my knowledge.”
The receptionist was suspicious of Reito who didn’t even wince at the mention of the Minotaurus. Reito hadn’t encountered any other Minotauruses besides the one that was the master of the forest, so he wanted one to show up.
“To confirm, are you sure you would like to enter?”
“It’s no problem.”
“…Understood. In that case, I’ll show you to the waiting room,” the soldier standing to the side took that as his cue to talk.