The final test for today was a mock battle between the students. The instructor will pick out names at random from the list of all those who are taking the test and have them face off. Our group was led into the academy’s gym where all other groups also came in.
The instructor then began explaining. “Just like with the magic test, whether you win or lose, the results won’t matter in this mock battle. What we’ll evaluate here lay more on how you reach that result.”
In other words, she’s telling us to give it all we’ve got, regardless of the outcome.
“Equipment will be provided and we will be on standby in case anything happens. Though this is a test, we’ll interfere right on the spot if it goes out of hand.” she added.
Which means that there's a possibility that a student might go overboard while fighting and might even cause harm or something like that. The way they are explaining it makes it seem like this is where the true test begins.
Induced by something, students muttered among themselves and started making a fuss until the woman instructor drew their focus by clapping her hands once.
“Then I’ll start picking out names.” She pulled a paper on the small box given by another instructor beside her.
“Hiro Laurent...and Alyss Galdia.”
Suddenly, for some reason, cold sweat ran down my face.
I walked towards the center and took out a wooden sword from the set of equipment provided. It seemed, all the provided weapons were swords made of wood. Other than that, there was leather armor and shields provided as well.
I only took the sword and briskly swung it to get the feel.
It’s light. Still, it’s been so long since I held a sword.
The last time was 300 years ago. And it was not that common to hold a sword back on earth as well. At least for me, it wasn’t.
“Ara, we meet again Hiro-san.”
“Yes. Though, we just saw each other earlier.”
First was yesterday, earlier, and now, coincidentally, we were paired up.
“Looks like we’ve been seeing each other quite frequently.”
We both held our wooden swords.
“Please go easy on me.” I said.
I remembered how she moved yesterday when pursuing the thief. I’ll have to be careful, I thought. Though it doesn’t matter who wins, I still need to put up a decent fight against her to secure my admission.
Her expression was the same as yesterday. Her eyes were determined just as the time when she chased down the thief. She held herself composed. It only took one look at her face to know what it was. She’s serious.
It’s like a switch has flipped within Alyss-san. Her eyes were like telling me to do the same. I responded to that. We both made our fighting stance, sword held in front, shoulders faced forward. After confirming something, the woman instructor signals the start.
Three ice shards formed behind Alyss-san’s back. No later than a second, they dispersed and aimed towards me with tremendous speed.
It hit the ground I previously was standing on. Ice spread on its surrounding. I would’ve been immobilized right there if I hadn’t moved out of the way in time.
“Sorry, but I won’t go easy on you. This is a test after all.” she said while smiling but her eyes told me otherwise. That’s scary!
Using magic right off the bat... Though it was never said that it was against the rules to use magic, I thought it would mostly be a physical fight given the equipment. What’s the point of the wooden sword then?
Just as I thought that, three more ice shards aimed right at me. That was quick, I thought. It seemed she didn’t use incantations for that. That means she had already mastered that specific magic to the point that she didn’t need to use incantations anymore.
I darted to my right as I dodged the ice shards.
With a thump, my wooden sword blocked her with her own wooden sword that came out of nowhere. Her blow was heavy but I managed to hold myself.
She continuously swung her sword as I blocked it. I can tell. Each of her blows are packed with strength and skill that can only be acquired through sheer practice. I managed to push back the last attack and jumped off to gain my distance.
“You're strong.” I said.
If I keep on defending myself like this, it’s likely I won’t pass the test if I don’t show some fighting power.
Her eyes widened as if in surprise. “N-no, I still have more ways to go... You also, you need to fight back and not just defend.”
She might’ve not expected that as she stuttered with her words. Well, she doesn't need to remind me. I was just getting started myself.
This time, it was my turn to attack.
She might’ve felt my intention as she readied herself soon after. Suddenly, I kicked off the ground at almost an inhuman speed.
There was a bit of delay with her reaction but she managed to block my sword. Though as a result, she slightly lost her balance. I didn’t miss that momentary chance, and swung my sword further.
She quickly regained her composure and put strength to her sword.
“T-that's not fair! Suddenly attacking like that... “
Eh? I made a dumbfounded look at her reaction.
“Well, you did attack me with magic out of nowhere from the start. Uhm... payback?”
Huh? Did I say something funny?
“Interesting. Then, let’s continue!” ice shards magically sprouted from behind her.
With that, I had no choice but to back away and dodged the incoming shards. Essence flowed through my body. I had used wind magic to increase my speed earlier to surprise her and now I’m using it to dodge those somehow annoying shards she kept on using.
She made six ice shards. That’s twice as much as earlier. One by one they aimed at me without delay. If I don’t do something about those, I’ll be stuck with defending again.
This time, I ran straight through.
She didn’t expect me to run straight through her.
I dodged one shard and continued dodging the other as I darted my way through. Those shards turn everything in ice to a certain limit when it touches. So, I can’t carelessly touch nor reflect those directly with my wooden sword.
I swung my sword at her and again, she blocked it. None of us seemed to get a hit with each other. Regardless, we continued to swing at each other, blocking and attacking simultaneously.
“Those two are amazing...”
“None of them seemed to get a hit, though. They're both strong.”
“It’s like a real battle between pros...”
Whenever I made my distance to plan my next move, she followed up with an attack using wind magic to enhance her speed.
That’s right, she could also use wind magic without any incantation... Not only that, she was skillful in sword as well. There was almost no wasted motion with her attacks.
We had been fighting for a while and I think it was already enough for the test. I continuously fought back and even used some magic to enhance myself in the process. I glanced at the woman instructor but she was intently focused on our fight.
If this continues, it was only a matter of stamina. But...
There was no sign of her slowing down at all. Instead, she kept increasing her power even further.
The condition for the match to end is either someone wins or someone forfeit. Maybe I should just forfeit?
Just as I thought that, she suddenly stopped her relentless attacks and jumped backward.
“Not yet.” she said. “You… you're about to forfeit just now, am I right?”
Eh how did she know? Did she read my mind or something?
“Sorry. It’s just... it’s my first time fighting someone as strong as you, I just can’t stop.” she chuckled.
She was more battleheaded than I thought.
“Though, I also think this is dragging on for too long so... “
Essence suddenly flowed through her body. It was strong enough that it was clearly visible.
“I’ll end it with this.”
It seemed like she was about to use some kind of magic.
She mutters something under her breath. Suddenly, light appeared from around her. Cold fog engulfed everything inside and the scent of flower emanates from the area. The temperature drastically dropped. Everyone instinctively shivered in the cold. The woman instructor also widened her eyes at the sight.
Amidst all that, Alyss-san wore a smile. “【Magic Arts: Thousand Frost】”
Flowers that seemed to be made of ice sprouted from the ground. The flowers glimmered around her.
A princess amid the field of flowers. That was how she looked right now. The majestic view of the seemingly harmless flowers combined with her elegant beauty. Everyone watched in dazed.
Then, those flowers soon bare its fangs. Petals from those flowers started floating in the air.
Good grief. What a terrifying princess.
I can’t help but smile, wryly.
I briefly glanced at the woman instructor who seemed to have no intention of stopping the match. Isn’t this supposed to be the part where they intervened? This is going out of hand already, hey....
Sigh. then, I’ll respond to your attack with my own.
The countless petals in the air suddenly formed into ice shards. They were all aimed towards one direction.
I tightened my pose as I took a breath. I bent myself forward and focused all my thoughts in one place. Just before that ice got closer enough to touch me, I swung the sword which was covered in essence.
Sword Arts. I said in my mind.
As I did, All of the ice shards that tried to attack me were slashed in half in an instant.
They dissipate right after and the flowers disappear as well.
The wooden sword broke... As expected, it couldn’t handle the force. Although I successfully stopped that attack just now, there was still no winner.
I think that one just now was enough for the test. So I decided to forfeit and apologize for the sword. Just when I was about to raise my hand, Alyss-san spoke.
“I forfeit. It’s my defeat.”
Contrary to that, she smiled as if she was satisfied. Then, the woman instructor who had been utterly quiet spoke, “T-then, the winner is Hiro Laurent.”
There was an indescribable silence after that but soon, cheers soon buried that silence.