Re Mari : I'll find you even if death did us apart!
“Vance! Have some food before the duel.” Martha shouted from down the hill.
Mother got up and came close to me.
“You don’t have to worry about the duel. As long as you remember the basics, you will be fine.” Mother must have known I was nervous.
The whole beheading part aside, that redhead is a person with fate. Those are like companions to the Protagonist. He would be extremely strong.
“Don’t worry. I’ll school that brat.” I need to have confidence.
“You have to tell me more about Sakura again.” Mother requested as we were walking down the hill.
“I will. Say Mother what is your verdict? You think she is with them?” I had my hopes up.
“She is with them. Her personality seems of a supportive kindhearted person’s,” She turned at me, “Remember, your wife must be the same age as you. So today try to find their ages.”
No one was against the duel as it was the only way out. No one, but Anne and Mary.
Mary was angry that I did something reckless. Anne was angry that she didn’t know the sword fight, or else she would have beaten them by herself. Strangely that grew her interest in swords.
“I’ll surely become strong to protect Brother Vance.” She said that to me as reassurance.
Everyone from the village gathered at the beach. We saw a tent near the shore. There were more boats this time.
“So you have arrived,” Magician Marlian greeted us.
“It is almost time, but before that, there’s someone I would like you to meet.”
He took me inside the tent. Mother and Everyone else stayed behind.
“That is great Saintess Emma Cursinberg.” Ah a Saintess, it was like a saint from church but of higher status. They are powerful mages and experts in holy attributes.
I saw a girl around the same age as me talking with some soldiers.
She was wearing a white dress with light gold linings. In her hand was a silver staff with the Crowned Empire emblem in the middle. The staff had a purple gemstone on the top. It was rather staggering to see her carrying that huge staff in her petite arms. Her blue eyes had a natural shade of purple.
Those were the characteristics of many royals from the Crowded Empire.
“Greetings, pardon the lack of formalities.” Her voice was sweet as a morning bird.
“I heard about what happened,” She continued after I didn’t say anything, “It is truly unfortunate.”
Wait I forgot to greet back.
“I apologize for staying silent. I was just surprised to see someone of my age as a great Saintess.”
“I’m Vance Alison, 8 years old.” I stretched my hand towards her. She hesitated a bit. Oh, maybe it’s rude to touch a saint? I had no idea about the etiquette required for a meeting with Saintess.
“I’m Eva Windbrook, 9 years old. Please refrain from touching the Saintess.” A girl came between us and held my hand instead. She was wearing maid clothes. Gold-coated glasses in her sharp black eyes. That was rare as normal people can’t afford them in this world. Her way and mannerisms were very rude.
Stop getting between me and my plan hag. I wanted to find the Saintess’s age, but this maid ruined it.
“Um, who are you?” I tried to keep my composure to that rude girl. She was still holding my hand.
“Eva, it is fine. They had no idea. It was just a misunderstanding.” The Saintess came and the maid let go of my hand.
“Please don’t take her words the wrong way. She is my personal maid and a good friend. She has been with me since I was very little. She can be a bit overprotective sometimes.”
Eva "the ill-mannered maid" was still staring at me.
Calm down, I’m not going to take your Saintess away.
“It is totally fine, I should have asked you beforehand.” I can’t let this chance go away. I need to confirm her age.
“So are you also 8 years old? If older then I should refer to you more respectively.” I was acting like a salesman.
“Why do you want to know? You should respect her regardless of her age.” The maid opened her sharp mouth again.
“Now Now, and please sir Vance, no need to be formal with me. I’m Emma Cursinberg and we are of the same age.” She gave a gentle smile. No wonder she is a healer. She was practically overflowing with kindness.
So she is the same age as me. That made me very happy and I ended up smiling a lot.
“I will talk with Father, I mean King Magnus about the punishment. You just did what you had to, so don’t worry. Please just entertain sir Ryn. And I’m here so I won’t let you get hurt.” Emma was also very thoughtful. She could be Sakura. But what should I do? For now, let’s keep talking with her.
I could feel a glare at me. The maid! Stop glaring at me.
“Oi, how long you are going to stand there chatting? Or are you scared?” Another rude brat. The redhead Ryn. He came from the outside with his servants.
“Ryn, please be mindful of your manners.” Emma calmed him down. He was like a rouge puppy in front of her. He started behaving nicely.
“Well, it’s about time we start.” Marlian led us outside.
I wanted to talk more but the time was up.
“I’ll introduce you to my remaining party later.” Emma smiled at me. That means they still have more people with them.
I can’t be sure that she is indeed Sakura. What if there’s someone else with same age?
I got out of the tent.
Woah! The Crowned Empire sure is flashy.
The soldiers had made a big arena on the beach. They even went as far as to set up sitting accommodations for the audience. When did they even do all this? Maybe because both Kings would be present. They wanted to make it grand.
This doesn’t seem like a normal duel anymore.
I saw Mother and Arthur sitting on the benches. Anne and Mary were there too.
If I had to believe Emma’s words, the beheading might be off the table. She called King Magnus her father. There’s a good chance this duel is just to save Ryn’s face. As he was the one who challenged me.
Marlian put magical devices near the arena. But unlike last time when we could see the people, it was just a one-way broadcast. He explained to me as I asked curiously.
Those devices would convey the whole duel to both Kingdoms. To ensure there wouldn’t be any issue of misconduct.
“I would like to ask Vance Alison to come forward,” I was a bit nervous but the moment I touched the sword all my worries were blown away.
Mother! I know you are supporting me. But this battle I’ll fight with my plan.
The sword felt the same as it did before, very comfortable and easy to handle.
“Now if Ryn Silverbank would take his place.” I looked in front of me. That brat was carrying a massive red sword. It was almost as big as him. What is this? It’s like a slab of hot iron. Did he take the sword while they were still making it?
I heard a laugh. It was Mother from the audience.
Ah, Mother can hear my inner thoughts. I waved at her.
“The rules are of the standard royal dueling. No underhanded techniques, no use of third party. Whoever gets disarmed first loses. If you can push your opponent out of the arena's bounds you win. No killing is allowed, but we have Saitness here with us present. Thanks to that we don’t need a healer, and you can duel your heart’s content.”
Marlian must have held many duels.
“Let the duel begin.”