Chapter 8:

The Dueling Circle

Y: The Tides Are In Our Hearts

When Miieie arrived at the dueling circle she had expected to be able to push through any problems with ease.

This was not the case.

The girls in front of her were not so quick to accept her into their fold like Iris and Endra had. The green-haired first year wasn’t sure how to handle it on account that she had never met anyone she had been able to reach before. The people in the village saw her as foolish but not unpersonable, yet here she was unable to get a word in with a group of girls who acted like it was their divine right to occupy the dueling circle. Miieie wasn’t even sure she wanted to take part in the circle! She just wanted to watch! Yet here they were and for some reason Miieie just felt utterly nervous for the first time in her life.


“You don’t belong here.” A pink-haired girl uttered as she shoved her backward. “This space is occupied.”

“I’m ju–”

“You can have it later, commoner.” Another girl remarked, this one with blue hair.


“Who do you think you are?” A third girl, this one with silver twin-tails, remarked with her hands on her hips.

“I’m Mi–”

The taller girl, a second year with brown hair, moved forward with her arms crossed. “There are rules. You must abide by them.”

Miieie’s brows twitched as the group stared her down. Who did they exactly think they were? What rules? They hadn’t even explained anything! All they did was tell her to leave and not let her talk in the first place! If there were rules they should’ve explained that to begin with instead of drawing their lines in the sand and daring her to cross them. Was this what Iris and everyone else meant when they said watch out for nobles?

That didn’t make sense. They weren’t acting like nobles at all. They were acting like bullies.

“I was just trying to explore the campus. What’s the problem?”

“Hmph.” She moved a strand of hair from her face, “You.”


The other girls moved forward defensively, as if Miieie’s remark was uncalled for.

“I don’t get it. Isn’t this supposed to be a school for everyone?”

That was how the headmaster described it. That was how the pamphlet described it. Even for all of the talk of prestige and legacies, the academy had been advertised as being a bipartisan institution of both the elite and normal people alike. All it took was talent and knowledge to get through the entrance exam. This was a public facility for all students yet they were telling people to leave.

Miieie eyed the room; no instructors, only a bunch of nobles and these just happened to be the ones talking to her. It wasn’t a three-on-one gamble. She was very much outgunned. If this school had some secret way of doing things that wasn’t common knowledge then she was in trouble. What would happen if she got into a fight with them outside of a formal duel? Would she get kicked out for that? It seemed wherever she went there was some kind of hole to avoid or dig herself out of. Was that what it was going to be like for three years?

“We have asked very nicely for you to wait until we are done. How about this, then?” The brown-haired girl glared into her eyes. “If you beat us in a duel we will leave.”

Us? Duel? What?

There was nobody to officiate! It was four-on-one!

Everything in Miieie’s mind told her to back off, to forget about the behavior of the other students at the dueling circle and to think for the first time in her life. But as smart as it may have been to tell them she wasn’t interested in their dumb game she couldn’t abide by that. But then again, Miieie had never picked the “smart” choice in her life. She could hear her grandfather’s voice in her head telling her to leave it be and to pick her battles. But that was the thing. She was picking her battles. Even if they were dumb battles.


As the four of them made for the circle, Miieie could feel a surge of anxiety. Back on Skilma she had been pretty skilled in fighting, but four-on-one? With one of her opponents being a second year? The idea rattled her nerves, even for as confident as she was to prove a point.

“This duel will be officiated by Kisele.” The upperclassmen uttered. “Hand-to-Hand. Victory when all opponents hit the floor.”

Miieie’s eyes moved from opponent to opponent. It hardly seemed fair but she was not one to back down from a fight. As Kisele rose her hand on the outside of a circle to prepare to start combat a wave of unease flashed in Miieie’s mind. She should’ve listened to Iris. She should’ve gone to the study hall or somewhere else. She should–

“You guys are really melodramatic.”

The sudden entrance of another girl caused Miieie to move her neck to see who exactly was approaching her. Was this going to be five-on-one now? How utterly in trouble was she?

The new girl was around her height, maybe a little taller. Her blue eyes seemed spaced out, and her long red hair was frayed and messy, almost like she wanted to be as unpresentable as possible. The black bow perched on the side of her head was even crooked. She didn’t look like a noble, but yet she had been in the dueling chambers with all the other nobles. Miieie wasn’t quite sure what to make of the girl.

“This isn–”

“Look, if you want a fight.” The red-haired girl smirked widely, showing her teeth, “Let’s make it a fight.”

“You’re going to side with her? What is this, a charity case?”

“What’s wrong? Scared I’m going to make an embarrassment out of you, Ameea-senpai?”

The upperclassmen’s eyes narrowed. And the fight began.

Kya Hon