TWEM Vol. 4 Chapter 13 Part 2
I headed for the basement of the mansion while putting my hand on my chin pondering what to do.
All the rooms in the basement were in use, so it would be a hassle to move things out of the way.
That being the case, I could just dig another floor below ground, but then I’d be faced with another underlying problem regarding capacity. Like how far down can I dig…
Then it came to me.
To build a staircase leading to the basement, and at some point down, create a door.
When you open the door, it would lead to a subspace with a spacious arena…problem solved!
To prevent someone from getting lost inside, the door should be mana-authenticated, so that it can only be opened by the magic power of the person who set it up.
I quickly created a subspace and a door leading to it.
I also quickly developed the magic power authentication function, and all that was left was designing the subspace.
The more mana I put into it, the wider it would be, but there was no need to go too far.
The arena will be a square 500 meters on the sides, create spectator seats around it, reinforce them to the maximum extent possible, and finally put up barriers.
This will not cause any damage to the audience unless it’s something really extraordinary.
I can’t wait to see everyone’s reaction tomorrow.
Early morning the next day. Before breakfast, I received reports from Lyla, Mia, and Noir about Cobra and the piggy viscount.
I quickly gathered everyone to come listen in on the report.
When everyone had gathered in the dining room, Lyla spoke up first.
“Are you familiar with the number of great merchant associations in the capital, Master Haruto?”
When a trading company grows to a certain size and influence, it is called a great merchant association.
“Uh, I believe there are less than twenty, aren’t there?”
Mia nodded at my answer.
“Correct. Eighteen, to be exact.”
I wondered what this had to do with anything.
“One of them is owned by Viscount Berkshire, and according to our investigation, we have discovered that there are connections between the seven great merchant associations, including that one and the one owned by the Count. There is nothing strange about that in itself, but it seems that when a store comes along and poses a threat to them, they try to sabotage and destroy its business. One of their tactics seems to have been to contract Cobra…”
That piggy, was he connected to the Count?
“What is the Count’s name?”
Lyla, not Mia, answered my question.
“An individual that goes by the name Almuth Balazel.”
“What is the name of his trading company?”
“Balazel Trading Company.”
“I bet the boss of the Seven chambers of commerce is that guy called alphabet or whatever, given his position. Any one or all of the seven trading associations could be connected to Cobra.”
Lyla, Mia, and Noir corrected my mistake with the name at the same time. I, of course, ignored it.
“Our store’s sales are growing steadily. They may have been quiet at first, but with this piggy viscount matter now, I won’t be surprised if they started to make their move.”
Finne nodded her head in agreement with me.
“We should either take the initiative and make the first move, or set a trap for them…one or the other.”
As I was thinking about which would be better, Sebas spoke up.
“I think setting a trap is the better option.”
“May I ask why?”
“Sure. The opponents are genuine nobles, even if they’re rotten pieces of shit. And we don’t have any clear evidence yet. So mounting an attack unilaterally is a bad idea. Instead, it would be better to set them up. If we catch the assailants and make them tell us who gave them the order, then we will have good justifications.”
Sebas is right.
<<I agree with Sebas.>>
You too, Ellis? Then let’s do that.
“All right then, a set up it is.”
“What kind of setup do you have in mind?”
“Count Haguetezzo, who is in a prominent position will probably not be the first to make a move. Because if he fails, he will be met with harsh judgments.”
“““It’s Almuth. Are you doing it on purpose?”””
I ignored them again.
Lyla and the others’ temples seemed to be twitching, but I didn’t care.
“…If they are indeed connected, they will likely contract Cobra. Their objective would be to steal the technology to make the toilets, our main product, or kill the employees to slow down production, or perhaps more straight to the point, kill me—and be done with it.”
Everyone nodded in agreement.
“The assassination of Master Haruto would undoubtedly be the most significant loss for the Ashtaroth Chamber of Commerce, wouldn’t it?”
“Definitely, especially since Viscount piggy is so desperate to kill me now that I’ve ruined his reputation.”
Finne gave me a look as if to ask why are you taking such grave life-threatening matters so nonchalantly, but I brushed that aside as well.
“Well…I can’t really call it a plan, but if I go into a back alley or something by myself, won’t they attack me?”
“No, that’s dangerous—I mean, a good idea. Then if only the assassin could just attack heedlessly, everything would be perfect.”
The other members of the group agreed with Lyla.
…She doesn’t seem to be worried about me one bit, and even hoping that I, her master, will be attacked heedlessly, isn’t that too horrible?!
I wanted someone to worry about me and almost cried a little.
After that, we had breakfast and headed for the underground arena.
While at it, I brought Zero, Sebas, Lyla, Mia, Noir, and the other servants along.
The four of them, except for Zero, knew about my subspace, but they had never experienced it, so they were surprised to the point of having their eyeballs popped out of their sockets.
Zero was also surprised, even though he had created a similar space himself.
“M-Master Haruto. How is it so wide? And even though we’re underground, the sky is…”
“Hm? Well, it’s a separate dimension I put together in a snap.”
“““““You say it as if you’re making light breakfast!”””””
I was just answering Noir’s question, but I was barraged with snappy retorts.
However, since Finne and the others already knew about my subspace ability, they were not that surprised and only smiled.
I was a little sad when I didn’t get any reaction from them.
I had gone all out…
Sebas, Lyla, Mia, and Noir returned above-ground because they had work to do.
“Now then, shall we get started?”
“Right, let’s get on with it!”
Iris was getting worked up, but I have to keep the order we agreed to yesterday.
“I’m sorry, but I’m going to start with Kusel first. We had an agreement.”
“…That’s true, I’ll wait my turn.”
Iris readily backed down.
I turned to Kusel, feeling bad about it.
“Well, are you ready?”
“You bet I am! My body is already on fire! Now draw your weapon!”
Kusel’s statement was a bit of a stretch, but no doubt she seemed eager to battle.
I’m convinced that it’s because she’s a battle maniac by nature. I always wondered how she was able to make deputy knight captain with that kind of disposition.
I suddenly pictured a knight under her lying on the ground battered, and Kusel smiling broadly with hands on her hips.
…Wow, I could almost see that happening.
Having had enough, I put the image out of my head and took out an iron sword from the dimensional storage.
If I were to use my beloved sword, she could end up dead.
Kusel understood this, and without saying a word, turned her back on me and headed to the center of the arena.
For some reason she seemed to be trembling though…I didn’t offend her or anything, did I? She’s probably just super excited, right?
I turned to Finne and the others, thinking, she’s kinda scary.
“You guys can watch from the spectator’s stand. Iris, you’re next after this, so just be patient for a bit.”
“Sure, I already agreed to wait my turn. Thank you, Haruto.”
Iris smiled and moved with everyone to the stand.
After making sure everyone had moved over and sat down in the spectator’s stand, I too headed to the center, drew my weapon, and faced Kusel.
“I’m ready whenever you are—is what I’d like to say, but I’m guessing the match has already started the moment we walked in here…isn’t that right?”
“Yeah. Damn right—it has!”
Kusel approached at a tremendous speed. She must have applied a physical boost instantaneously.
Her speed was nearly twice as fast as she had displayed in our last mock battle.
Kusel slashed at me with a reverse diagonal slash, which I avoided by stepping backward…
“Whoa, so it’s a slash attack!”
Her mana reshaped into a slash attack and came flying at me.
“Let me see how you avoid this at this distance!”
Kusel was right, it would be impossible for a normal person to avoid it. However—
“Sure, I was caught by surprise, but what makes you think I can’t avoid it?”
I stepped on the air with my Sky Walk skill and leaped up at once to avoid the slash.
“But you can’t move while you’re in the—air!?”
Having found my landing point, Kusel swung her sword, but it never reached me.
“Come on, you should know by now that it won’t be that easy.”
I shot up further into the air with Sky Walk and looked down at Kusel.
Flames wrapped around Kusel’s sword with a frustrated expression on her face.
“Take this, Fire Slash!”
A blade made of flames flew toward me from her sword. It’s like a flame version of the previous slash.
Seeing that, I then wrapped water around my sword and swung it at the incoming flaming slash.
The flaming slash and the aqueous slash collided, and both were extinguished.
Even so, Kusel did not stop.
Then, dozens of fireballs appeared near Kusel.
Oh, to think she is able to control that many now?
With Kusel’s words as the cue, the fireballs darted toward me.
Moreover, some of them were moving erratically, clearly Kusel was controlling them.
Still, I utilized Sky Walk to duck the fireballs, cut them with my sword, and punch them with my fist to extinguish them.
But even as I was doing so, Kusel was churning out more fireballs.
It was getting me nowhere, so I landed on the ground.
“I’ve been waiting for that!”
Kusel shouted the moment I landed on the ground, and both the fireballs that had been prepared on standby and the fireballs that had been pursuing me all rushed toward me.
“How naive! —Water Wall!”
A wall of water formed around me. The fireballs that flew into it disappeared one after another.
When all the fireballs were gone and the water wall was disengaged—Kusel, who must have used the skill Berserk Switch and the unique skill Trance, came running at me.
Both skills were similar in the sense that you get a boost in stats in exchange for losing rationality. Meaning that her speed became even faster than before.
I took her on with my sword clad in ice, but the double application of that skill and unique skill granted an astonishing boost to her strength stat.
When I unexpectedly was about to be pushed and held on, the weight of the sword vanished.
Kusel had let go of her sword.
“I see, so that’s what you’re trying to do!”
I also let go of my sword as quickly as I could and deflected Kusel’s right fist with my right hand, which was just inches away from my face.
I grabbed her by the wrist, hooked her leg to topple her down.
“Let’s put an end to this already. There are others in the queue.”
I then struck Kusel, who was lying on her back in the gut with my palm heel, and knocked her out.
Kusel, who was still passed out, woke up after a while with a recovery spell.
“It’s hopeless. I can’t even see any hope of victory against you, Haruto.”
“What are you talking about? You gave me quite a few surprises, you know? Especially when you let go of your sword and tried to make it a melee fight.”
“Oh really. Actually, there was a brief moment when I regained consciousness from my berserk state, and it was at that exact moment.”
Wow, regaining consciousness from that berserk state…that’s a feat even I am not confident I could pull off.
“I was surprised by that and many other things. You certainly have become even stronger.”
“I’m glad to hear that. And thanks for using recovery on me. If I ever get the chance, I’d love to have another go.”
“Sure, anytime. I pick up one or two things when I spar with you as well.”
“Seriously. Hearing you say that just made my day.”
With these words, Kusel went to the spectator’s seats.
Iris, Finne, Ephyr, and Suzuno came in together after Kusel exited the stage.
“Hm? Four of you at once?”
“Of course! I’m rather weak you see.”
“Exactly. So, you’ll be taking on all four of us at once.”
The ones who replied to me were Iris and Finne.
Then Ephyr and Suzuno also opened their mouths.
“Haruto. If you’d please.”
“Haruto, you better not underestimate our coordination!”
“Ohh. This should be fun.”
Thus began the match—which ended after fifteen minutes.
The result was my overwhelming victory.
However, Suzuno was right.
Iris and Finne in the vanguard, and Ephyr and Suzuno in the rearguard.
They were quite well coordinated.
Whenever I tried to move, magic attacks would come flying at me. And when I prepared for a magic attack, the vanguard would attack.
It was good practice for me.
I also had a mock battle with Tendo and the others, which was also decided in about fifteen minutes.
Although Suzuno, who usually plays the role of healer, was out of the picture, their battle formation was well-balanced, with Tendo playing the double role of damage dealer and healer, Mogami as the tank, Shinonome as the vanguard ranger, and Asakura as the rearguard.
Perhaps this is all thanks to their experience at the labyrinth, they are clearly much stronger, with more rigorous attacks and coordination.
All that’s left now is my spar with Zero…from an onlooker’s perspective, it must have been a battle between monsters.
Each blow had the power to kill, and from the point of view of Finne and the others, just a graze would result in instant death. Such attacks were being exchanged back and forth.
Even though the spectators’ stands were protected by barriers, it must have been terrifying to watch at such close range.
Perhaps it was because the aftermath alone shook the atmosphere and transmitted vibrations to the barriers, but then from the latter half, everyone’s cheeks began wobbling.