NBAA Vol. 7 Chapter 2 Part 1
–The Necrostone shattered completely, and the black knight looked peaceful, as if her hatred had vanished.
Eventually, the magic that made up her face and body vanished, leaving only the skeleton and the shattered deadly stones. And then, just as if they had finished playing their part in the story, she was reduced to ashes and they scattered on the ground.
As Reito was about to pick up the Extermination Blade and the Reflection Sword that had fallen to the ground, he spotted a shiny ring in the pile of ashes.
“V-Victory! Luna, the Black and Silver Swordsman, wins!”
The crowd roared.
The moment Reito took the ring in his hand, Rabby’s play-by-play echoed and the crowd’s cheers filled the arena.
Hearing this, Reito remembered that this was a match, so he put the weapon back in its sheath. Then observed the ring he had picked up.
“Is this… someone’s ring?”
Reito examined the ring that the Black Knight had in her possession when she transformed into a Lich. He found it engraved with a Japanese word that he assumed was her name.
In Reito’s current world, Japanese characters weren’t used. Only a translator could have the skills to decipher it. However, since Reito still remembered Japanese, he was able to read her name without using his translation skills.
“Reina, huh? Her name sounds a bit like mine.”
There was no indication that the ring had any special properties, and its owner was unable to make a grave for it, as she had been reduced to ashes. After giving it some thought, Reito decided that for the time being he would take custody of her ring and give it to her relatives if he ran across any.
“Luna!! Luna!! Luna!!”
“What a great cheer! It’s as if the winner has already been decided before the main competition of the festival has even begun! I’ll follow your example and… LUUUNA!”
Everyone in the audience cheered as Luna (Reito) celebrated her victory.
After using the “Sword Demon” sword technique twice, Reito’s body was almost at its limit. He managed to resist the urge to collapse and somehow made his way to the west gate on foot.
The chants of “Luna” did not stop during this time, and it was not until Reito had finally left the field that they died down.
Once the west gate door was completely closed, Reito leaned against the wall of the passageway and began communicating with Airis.
『Damn… I’m tired.』
『Excellent work today.』
Airis immediately responded to the communication, offering Reito words of encouragement for his work.
This was the first time Reito had ever been cornered like this. It was a perilous situation, far more dangerous than his battle with the Rotten Dragon; his life hung in the balance.
『It was strong… I really thought she was going to kill me.』
『I didn’t expect… your opponent to be a White Knight.』
『She was one of the heroes summoned in ancient times. She performed great deeds during the era of the Baltros Empire, but ultimately, she met a tragic end at the hands of the Empire itself.』
『Is that so…』
As Airis told him about the opponent he had faced, Reito realized that he had been up against an extraordinary individual. At the same time, he wondered why he had survived and questioned Airis.
『How did I win? Do you know, Airis?』
『Perhaps it’s because Mr. Reito’s power as a Sword Demon has been fully awakened.』
『Awakened… Oh, by the way, both of my eyes have changed color.』
During the match, both of Reito’s eyes had turned completely red. Airis explained that this was a result of Reito’s full awakening to the power of the Sword Demon.
『Being pushed to the brink of death probably forced Mr. Reito to tap into your power. Did you notice anything unusual during the battle?』
『Now that I think about it… everything around me seemed to be moving in slow motion, yet I was able to move and use magic relatively normally. I think I’ve experienced something similar a few times before…』
『I am sure that the sensation of slow motion was due to the acceleration of Mr. Reito’s consciousness. People in combat-related professions can experience such consciousness acceleration in extremely rare cases, particularly those who hold the title of ‘Sword Demon’ or ‘Swordmaster.’ But normally, if you have just accelerated your consciousness, your body should also feel sluggish. Were you able to move normally?』
『I was able to move.』
When Reito was sent flying by the Black Knight, he used the “Ultra Recovery Boost” magic while in the air, which completely healed his injuries. He also managed to passively adjust his body position in the air. These feats would have been impossible had his physical senses not been synchronized with his accelerated consciousness.
『Hmmm… Then we should consider it to be either a Sword Demon’s power or a unique ability of Mr. Reito. Not only did you accelerate your consciousness, but you also enhanced your physical abilities? No, that would be too much strain on the body… It’s frustrating that even I can’t fully grasp what was happening!』
『Finally! I’m waking up to my hidden abilities… I’m excited!』Reito said like Goku.
『Don’t get too cocky. But it’s true, Mr. Reito may indeed have latent powers.』
After his conversation with Airis, Reito stood up shakily and was the first to head for the waiting room.
“Wow, that was an incredible match! I was really impressed!”
In the waiting room, Ferris, the merchant who had invited Reito to the Battle Festival, and his friends were waiting for him.
“Hey, thanks… ouch, ouch ouch!”
As Ferris’s escort, Alice, nodded in agreement, Reito suddenly felt a sharp pain in his body.
“Are you all right, Reito? Take it easy and lie down. You can use Suramin as a pillow.”
Then his fellow adventurers Dain and Gonzo then helped Reito to a bench. Kotomin of the mermaid tribe offered Suramin’s slime to Reito. Gratefully, Reito laid his head on Suramin and sat down on the bench. Once Reito lay down, Kotomin used water from a tub to cast a healing spell.
“Don’t move… Handpower!”
“Ahhh… that’s the spot!”
“Drink this too.”
Alice handed Reito a bottle that seemed to contain a healing potion. He took it gratefully, and then Ferris handed him a bag.
“Here’s what you earned today!”
“Oh… I started with just one gold coin, and now it’s grown to this much!”
Reito, who had been asked to compete in the arena, had instructed Ferris to bet on his own victories. While the odds varied slightly, the arena usually paid out double for a correct bet on the winner. Having won every match so far, Reito’s winnings had increased exponentially. He now had 32 gold coins, the equivalent of about 3,200,000 yen, a considerable sum of money. Gonzo saw Reito counting the gold coins and started to talk to him.
“But you were really amazing at the end… How did you manage to win?”
“It was really close…”
“You even managed to save her soul. Did the Lich have any last words?”
Reito nodded, his mind going back to his last exchange with “Reina”. She had died peacefully. Although she had been killed by his hand, it seemed as if she had found salvation in her end. Reito remembered a past incident where he had killed someone named Aria, who could be considered his foster parent. He wondered if Aria had felt the same way as Reina in her final moments. Suddenly, the sound of heavy footsteps echoed from outside the waiting room.
“Please wait! Even if you are a Swordmaster, this corridor is restricted to authorized personnel only…!”
“Let go of me! I need to talk to that kid!”
Ferris, alerted by the noise, approached the door with a puzzled expression. But before she could open it, the door was violently pushed open from the other side, the force causing the frame to come loose.
“Ah! There you are! I’ve been looking for you!”
“Oh… that man from before…”
The man who had entered the room unannounced was familiar to Reito. Dain and Gonzo looked surprised when they saw the man’s face.
“The Swordmaster of Destruction!”
“What in the world?”
The newcomer was Gorai, the strongest swordsman from the adventurers’ guild “Hailstorm.” He approached Reito, who was lying on a bench, crossed his arms, and grinned broadly.
“Ha-ha-ha-ha!!! What a brilliant match! It’s rare to see a fight to the death like that! I thoroughly enjoyed it today!”
“Ha, ha… thanks.”
“That’s all I wanted to say! Rest your body now! I look forward to crossing swords with you in the main competition of the Battle Festival! Farewell!”
After delivering his message, Gorai left the room with a high-pitched laugh. His sudden departure left everyone in the room in a state of shock and confusion. Ferris, finally regaining her composure, looked at the destroyed door in dismay.
“Who’s going to pay for this door…? What was he really doing here?”
“He’s the one who destroyed it… Perhaps we, who are renting the room, will have to pay.”
“I’ll have to file a complaint with the Hailstorm guild later… to get their attention.”
Alice’s remarks made Ferris look even more discouraged.
“The Battle Festival…?”
Meanwhile, Reito thought about Gorai’s words. He had only just qualified for the main event of the Battle Festival. The Lich was definitely a formidable opponent, but the main competition might bring even stronger opponents. The first of these would undoubtedly be Gorai himself. As the strongest swordsman of Hailstorm, he was a likely contender for the championship.
“Reito… that man is strong.”
“Just looking at him… gives me shivers…”
Gonzo commented, breaking into a cold sweat. Reito quietly nodded in agreement. When he had seen Gorai earlier, he knew that he was no ordinary person. Maybe because of his awakening as a sword demon, his senses had become sharper, allowing him to perceive Gorai’s power more clearly.
“The Swordmaster of Destruction… I don’t want to face him.”
After muttering this, Reito noticed something strange about Dain. He was staring down the hallway where Gorai had left, looking deep in thought.
“What’s wrong, Dain?”
“Oh, no, it’s… nothing.”
When Reito asked, Dain shook his head quickly. Reito tilted his head at his response but decided not to press further if Dain was unwilling to share. In the end, they decided to call it a day – for now.