“Are you ready, everyone?” Carbuncle asked.
I readied myself as I looked to my left and right. Luca and Kiri were on my side—meanwhile, Iris was behind me, with Carbuncle’s mysterious crystal pendant dangling on her chest.
At the opposite side... My older brother, Alt-nii, was right in front of me, separated by a gap. Then, beside him, there were Clavis and Harvey. Behind them, there was Ein with the same crystal pendant dangling on his chest.
Outside the training ground, there were Dad, Mom, Nicole, and the escorts who came along with Nicole and the royal siblings.
Yep, Dad informed everyone involved, naturally, and all of them were anxiously—no, they were EXCITEDLY looking forward to us, children’s friendly sparring!
Hey, be a little bit worried for us, young children, okay?
...Ah, they might put their trust in us a bit too much...
Anyway, Leticia was there next to Mom and close to her maid. Obviously, Leti was too precious to participate—err, I mean—too young. She barely began training anything, anyway.
Then, outside the training grounds but close enough to us—Carbuncle was floating—or flying. She was the referee of the match.
“Ready? ...And begin!!”
With her loud voice announcing the start of the friendly match, all of us began to move.
--A little bit flashback...
As per Carbuncle’s idea, it was decided that we would have a team match.
Each team consisted of 4 people—3 people guarding one pendant carrier.
Alt-nii naturally teamed up with Harvey and Clavis.
I was thinking on how the other member of Alt-nii’s group would be decided when Ein unexpectedly volunteered.
“I want to observe how Big Sis Lyra fights! So, it’s better for me to be on the opposite team!”
That was his reasoning.
It wasn’t incorrect. After all, he could see my movements better as the opponent—as we should watch over our opponents’ movements and trust our teammates, so yup, we would be watching and observing our opponents more than our allies.
Since that was the case, my team consisted of me, Luca, Kiri, and Iris—with Iris as the pendant carrier.
The pendant carrier was more of a passive member, so yup.
Iris felt bad that she couldn’t really do anything—and since it was like an [Adventure] class session simulation, she was allowed to carry her pouch—or bag that contained the very basic potions—limited amount ofher choice.
On the other side, it was said that Ein would be the [strategist] as he was a member of Loera clan, well-known for their amazing head... I wonder if the zombies who eat their brains will be smarter? Haha!
Despite him declaring that he would be the [strategist], Alt-nii and his friends didn’t seem to hope much from him, as it would be their first time trying to fight with this composition.
Actually, Iris and Ein’s role was to be the “protected” side, so it didn’t really matter. Although their assistance might be able to help us, which would be much appreciated!
“Well, they’re all younger than us anyway, so why don’t we just give them an upper hand (referring to Iris carrying potions)?” Clavis said.
“Iris, do your best! You’re the one who have to decide when to throw the potion and to whom after all! Consider it as a practice like what Carbuncle said,” Harvey... encouraged Iris instead.
“Oy, whose side are you in?!” Alt-nii elbowed Harvey.
Harvey chucked, “It couldn’t be helped, I’m worried for her, you know? Like a brother worrying over his kid sister, I guess?”
“...I’m Lyra’s older brother yet I’m not worried for Lyra at all,” Alt-nii said.
“Well, Lyra is strong... You will understand if your little sister is like Iris!” Harvey argued back.
“Big Brother Alt, Clavis, and Harvey! Don’t worry and trust my judgment! I have a keen observation and perfect memory!” Ein suddenly boasted himself.
...We’ll see about that!
Okay, let’s return to the present—the match is beginning!
We didn’t have to worry about anything, too, as Mom raised a barrier to restrict our battle grounds. And just to be double sure, Mom also cast a protective magic to each of us, to make sure that we wouldn’t be hurt.
And the rule was simple and the same as my and Alt-nii’s match against Carbuncle.
Whichever side managed to destroy the other party’s crystal pendant would be declared the winner.
Yup, it was as simple as that. With a slight modification of team match.
As for the other three who should defend the pendant holder, a crystal brooch was attached to each of our clothes. Break the crystal brooch, and we would be forced to collapse without being able to move for a moment, marking our defeat.
Oh, by the way, you wouldn’t be able to scratch the crystal pendant if you haven’t broken two out of the three crystal brooches in your opponent’s team.
I assessed the whole situation quickly. In my team, everyone carried swords. Mine was the same old magic sword that I received as a gift from Dad back then. Kiri was holding a normal sword—bulkier than mine. On the contrary, Luca was holding a rapier with the royal family emblem—eeh, a rapier was still considered a sword, right?
To be honest, I was so used with the bulky swords—the Grabberton clan’s liking—so I felt that the rapier Luca was holding... seemed so frail. But I knew it was made of high-quality metal, and it was the royal family’s rapier after all.
From my team, Luca and I possessed excellent magic proficiency.
When I glanced at Alt-nii’s team composition...
Alt-nii was holding his usual dagger—I believed that he still had some other daggers concealed. Still, we were family of magicians, so physical weapons were used only for aid. Let’s blame Dad for destroying the family signature—the Hartmann’s legacy of magicians!
Clavis had his tail and wolf ears raised up in alert, both his hands held knuckles that were similar to claws for a wolf. Meanwhile, Harvey was holding a hammer.
Harvey’s hammer reminded me of Gale somehow.
Anyway, I heard that Harvey wasn’t quite good at combat—he aspired to be a blacksmith more. The only one proficient in magic there was Alt-nii. Oh well, he was the holder of the [mythical] magic—[Void].
But to overcome the disadvantage their team possessed, Rurune was allowed to participate.
...We still didn’t know any of Rurune’s power, but she could distract our attention, so that might work...
During [Adventure] class session, Rurune joined and she usually would either distract the monsters and evade their attacks. We weren’t sure if Rurune was really powerless or she was still developing her power—as she could still be considered as a baby...?
Anyway, nobody objected.
And so, the match began.
We quickly set off to face against our opponents—my magic sword clashed against Alt-nii’s dagger, Kiri’s sword against Harvey’s hammer, and Luca’s rapier against Clavis’ clawlike knuckles.
I faced my big brother in such a close proximity, both of us smiling as neither was pushed back.
“Not bad!” Alt-nii said.
“Alt-nii, too! Don’t hold back!” I confidently said.
The competitive blood rose up to my head, the thirst of an all-out match against my big brother took over my yielding heart.
All my restraint was gone in face of the combat.
We clashed blades several times. When I could maintain a proper distance with Alt-nii, I quickly used the magic sword’s magical aspect—swinging shards of ices as I swung my sword.
Meanwhile, Alt-nii tried to trick me by creating an illusion of multiple daggers coming my way—so I quickly rolled my way out of the daggers’ area of attack. One of the daggers he threw should be real, but I didn’t have the time to think of ways to see which of the daggers was real. Maybe next time!
Our distance was closing in once more, so I switched to a complete melee tactic, swinging my sword, aiming Alt-nii’s crystal brooch.
Alt-nii swiftly retrieved another dagger and blocked my sword before it could reach his crystal brooch. As expected of Alt-nii!
“Eh... That stance...,” Nicole’s voice made my heart skip a beat for a moment.
Crap, I forget that she’s here! Wait, how is she familiar with the stance—oh, she’s Clyde’s wife, after all!
“...Well, it seems similar at a first glance, but it turns out to be different...”
I heaved a sigh of relief inwardly after hearing her say that—yup, it seemed that I had successfully modified my swordsmanship style. ...though there were still some resemblances to my old style—the Grabberton way.
“Don’t let your mind wander off during a battle!”
With those words, Alt-nii suddenly caught me off guard as he flung my sword away.
“Ah!” I quickly rushed off to my sword which beautifully stabbed the ground... when Rurune suddenly appeared in my way!
“Ruru!” She cutely growled, but I didn’t feel the urge to pet her, not at this moment!
“Move aside!” I said as I changed my direction, but Rurune followed me and she seemed to be laughing, “Ruru~”
“Lyra, don’t forget what you said—that I shouldn’t hold back!” Alt-nii said from my back.
I thought that retrieving my magic sword would take a bit of time, but that wasn’t the case with Rurune’s distraction.
The moment I turned around, I saw Alt-nii’s three daggers already flying midair—stopping there. It was his habit to use either his [Void] or [Wind] magic to hold his daggers midair before flying them off to his target.
And his target this time—oh, don’t get it wrong. I know his tactics. He was trying to use the daggers to bind me to the ground—hoping to lock my clothes with his daggers. And yup, he also applied some magic to his daggers to lock my movements once they successfully stroke my clothes.
Yup, this was one of his pranks. Therefore, I know.
As the daggers were flung towards me, I immediately cast my own magic to counter them all. Small ice shields were raised to block the daggers and send them off to the grounds.
“What about this then?!” Alt-nii reacted right away as he sent balls of [Void] magic flying at me.
“[Gicela snîðung]!” (Ice shards)
I quickly cast powerful ice shards in order to clash it against Alt-nii’s [Void] balls in hopes that the balls would vanish after getting struck by my ice shards. If my ice shards weren’t powerful enough, they might only get swallowed by Alt-nii’s [Void] balls.
I reinforced my ice shards continuously with my magic as they crashed into Alt-nii’s [Void] balls. After the impact of the two forces that caused dust to form, both my ice shards and Alt-nii’s [Void] balls vanished.
“Hey! Big Brothers, you are all forgetting what I told you to do!!”
Suddenly, Ein’s voice resounded. He seemed quite irritated from the tone of his voice.
As if Alt-nii, Harvey, and Clavis were reminded of something important, they quickly took several steps back before... going together against... Kiri!!
Kiri was surprised having the two other opponents targetting him as well. He reflexively raised his sword—but he was still focused on facing off against Harvey. So, his sword could only defend against Harvey’s attack...
Luca and I reflexively tried to help Kiri when Rurune suddenly stretched her paws to my legs, causing me to trip and fall.
What the hell!!
Luckily, Luca managed to help Kiri defending himself—his rapier blocking Clavis’ knuckles as he held it with just his right hand—while his left hand was facing Alt-nii, summoning a strong shield of flames that blocked Alt-nii’s magical attack.
But there was no way Luca could endure that long—I had to help!
I stood up in an instant only to be blocked by Rurune.
At that moment, Iris’ voice unexpectedly resounded.
The next moment, I saw a small bottle of potion being thrown at Rurune... I had a hunch at that time, so I immediately distanced myself from Rurune.
The small bottle of potion’s plug was off while it was flying midair—then, the liquid inside was raining down on Rurune.
Rurune was definitely not expecting this coming from the usually timid Iris, as she was drenched with the potion’s liquid.
As I was wondering what the potion might be doing to her, I noticed that Rurune was not moving at all!
That was when I knew—it was a paralyzing potion.
“Thanks, Iris!” I smiled as I quickly dashed to Alt-nii’s side, ready to ward him off Luca so Luca could focus on Clavis alone.
“D-do your best!” Iris cheered.
Since my way to retrieve my discarded sword was still blocked... I didn’t lose my way and created an ice sword instead!
As soon as the ice sword was completely formed, I stroke the sword to Alt-nii.
Obviously, Alt-nii noticed my incoming attack. He stopped attacking Luca’s flame shield and shoved his hands to my ice sword—casting his [Void] magic on his hands...
So, the moment my ice sword approached his hands, it was slowly disappearing.
I quickly jumped back after letting go of my ice sword.
[Gicela scytel]! (Ice Arrow)”
I wished to overwhelm Alt-nii by summoning numerous ice arrows, hoping for the arrows to rain down on him. He was caught off guard and cast several [Void] balls to ward off my ice arrows while evading the attack.
No matter, I could always send another attack.
Just as I was about to cast another attack, I noticed Alt-nii was ready to defend himself against another rain of ice arrows, so in that moment, I instantly thought of another attack.
“Big Bro Alt, she’s using ice shards, go and use [Void] balls to swallow them all!”
Ein’s sudden yell surprised me, but my ice shards still formed and made their way to Alt-nii. Alt-nii, who was preparing for ice arrows, quickly cast his [Void] balls instead after hearing Ein’s command.
“How did you...?!” I was taken aback by Ein’s deduction.
“Your initial stances are different! I could tell!” Ein answered proudly.
...Sure, because I intended to make the ice arrows raining down on Alt-nii, I would form the ice arrows from height, while I usually would fling the ice shards horizontally...
Therefore, my stance was a bit different... A bit different, but it was generally similar. And Ein could tell after seeing me demonstrate the two attacks.
Okay, that kid’s good.
If I couldn’t really surprise my enemy with that, then I just had to overwhelm them.
Therefore, I gathered my power to create even stronger ice arrows, an even stronger rain of arrows.
Alt-nii quickly reacted and formed a [Void] barrier above him, making all the ice arrows touching the barrier disappear in an instant.
Fatigue started to build up in my body after that, as I also took a step back and took a deep breath before continuing.
“Time for me to launch an attack back!” Alt-nii exclaimed.
Very unexpectedly, at that moment, Rurune’s dissatisfied growl could be heard.
It seemed that she was annoyed that we continued to fight while ignoring her paralyzed state.
“Sorry, Rurune! Wait until the effect wears off, okay?!” Alt-nii brushed her off just like that.
“Ruuuuu!!” Rurune’s dissatisfied voice raised.
At that time, Alt-nii’s hand which was directed at me, ready to attack me, was suddenly pulled to Rurune’s direction as a wave of [Void] magic was unleashed to Rurune.
“Eh?!” Odd enough, Alt-nii yelled in his surprise.
After the wave of [Void] magic touched Rurune, she suddenly could move again... without suffering any effect from the [Void] magic wave. Rather, it seemed like she was invigorated after receiving the [Void] magic!
“How did you do that, Rurune...?!” Alt-nii was still surprised.
My mind was about to wander off in my curiosity before I realized that the match was still ongoing.
I looked at Kiri and Harvey’s direction... and I had an idea!
Without further ado, I dashed off to Harvey from behind him and...
I cast a spell to freeze the target—and ice began to envelop Harvey.
Harvey managed to let out that scream before my ice magic trapped him frozen completely.
I knew I should just break his crystal brooch, but this was what I could do from my position. After all, freezing him like this would have the similar effect like destroying his crystal brooch. I just had to keep Alt-nii occupied to prevent him from using his [Void] magic to cancel my [Freeze] spell.
Yep, if my opponent’s team had the idea of ganging up on one person and eliminate them one by one, then I could take their strategy as well!
Kiri seemed to be taken aback for a moment before he locked eyes with me. I tried to tell him via my eyes that it was time for us to go to the next target: Clavis.
As he seemed to catch my intention, Kiri nodded and we dashed off to Clavis.
Alt-nii seemed to snap out of his daze and noticed the situation turning sour, so he dashed off to help Clavis defend himself against us.
In the meantime, Ein let out some commands to direct their team’s defense to a better method. That was how—although it was three against two, Alt-nii and Clavis could still defend themselves well.
While we were focused on attacking the two of them, Rurune stealthily went to approach the frozen Harvey and... that was when the unthinkable happened.
The moment Rurune’s paws touched my ice magic that enveloped Harvey, the ice started to thaw... and thus, Harvey was freed.
I noticed the whole situation happening from the edge of my vision—and it surprised me a lot that I had my eyes taken off from my opponents.
Is that Rurune’s power...?!
Iris seemed to notice how the enemies wanted to attack me while I was caught off guard.
I was about to think that it was already too late when a small ball was thrown from behind—before the ball dissolved smoke that hindered our eyesight.
I noticed it was Iris trying to help me evade the attack, so I quickly reacted and stepped back. The others also did the same, and it was as if we were back to square one.
I didn’t forget to grab my magic sword on my way back to square one. Everyone was caught off guard by the smoke, so that was enough for me to withdraw my sword.
“Rurune, that’s awesome! Please continue to assist us like that, okay?”
Alt-nii seemed to forget the mysterious event that occured when his hand was moving against his will to free Rurune, and he asked Rurune for her aid.
Unexpectedly, Rurune responded by flying onto the nearby tree and laid comfortably on one of its branches.
“Rurune...?” Alt-nii was dumbfounded.
“Ruuu...,” Rurune yawned.
“......,” We were all speechless.
But well, to be honest, Rurune displaying her power and contributing to the match like that was beyond our expectation.
And now, she was playing truant.
“Are you tired after all that? ...Okay then, you go rest,” Alt-nii smiled bitterly, trying to compromise with Rurune.
Honestly, Rurune’s face didn’t show that she was tired. Was it just me or she only seemed to be bored?
Anyway, this turn of event was beneficial to my team, so why bother?
“Take Harvey down first!”
I commanded after thinking that Ein’s strategy of taking the enemies down one by one might be the strategy that worked better than doing one-on-one fight like before.
Luca and Kiri seemed to agree with me, with Kiri silently following my command, while Luca said a bit grudgingly, “That’s my line!”
Well, Luca, why compete over something like this? Mutual agreement is the thing that matters the most at the moment.
“Graahh!” Clavis showed his beastman ability as he quickly and powerfully leaped to us, trying to prevent us from ganging up on Harvey.
“Lyra, hold him back and don’t approach him!” Iris then commanded.
I quickly stepped on Clavis’ shadow and stopped him mid-air as he was jumping up using my [Dark] magic. Yeah, I could at least do this with my [Dark] magic, although I didn’t continue training my [Dark] magic after knowing the basic of it.
Then, after all of us distanced ourselves from Clavis, Iris’ potion pouring ceremony happened again. This time, Clavis was the target.
“Eeeh?! My power...!!” Clavis yelped.
“T-that’s a potion that can decrease your power for a while! Now, you can’t really use your beastman cheat again!” Iris exclaimed.
Yup, Clavis’ movements were faster and stronger than our normal movements, and that was his cheat. Now, he didn’t have that cheat anymore, making him an easy target!
However, Harvey came first. Among Alt-nii, Clavis, and Harvey... Harvey was the easiest target! He seemed to be quite exhausted as well after all the fight we did.
I decided that Clavis and Alt-nii could still hinder our “Harvey-targetting” operation, so I quickly moved to freeze Clavis’ feet after my shadow stopping technique dissolved, locking his movement. He couldn’t really launch any ranged or magical attack, so locking his movements worked wonder.
As for Alt-nii... I decided it would be best for me to distract him while Luca and Kiri attacked Harvey!
With that kind of arrangement, Harvey’s crystal brooch was destroyed in no time.
One down, one more to go before we could target Ein directly and end the game!
Clavis was now an easy target after I froze his feet... or not.
[Spêd oferfylnes]! (Physical reinforcement)
Unexpectedly, Clavis chanted a magical spell!
Then, he seemed to put his whole power in his feet—and that cracked my ice!!
Right, [Neutral] magic user could at least do that!!
Magical aura seemed to glow from Clavis’ hands and feet.
...So, even after all the trouble Iris went through to erase his ‘cheat’, he still could activate his cheat this way... Though this seemed to be better than having him reinforce his beastman power further. Anyway, Clavis’ physical reinforcement magic shouldn’t last that long. And it was two-against-one—Luca and Kiri against Clavis, while I was trying to keep my big brother busy fighting me.
Sure enough, Luca and Kiri’s duet managed to overcome Clavis’ ‘cheat’.
As Alt-nii’s back was against Clavis and I was facing Alt-nii, I could see what was happening on the other side sometimes, when I could steal a few glances there.
Luckily, I managed to steal some glances at my team’s victory flag!
Luca enveloped his rapier with his signature fire magic, making Clavis busy dodging his burning rapier. Just as he was dodging one of Luca’s attack—I knew Luca must have thought this movement thorough—perhaps he had practiced it together with Kiri?
...Because their duet was flawless.
Clavis’ attempt to dodge this one burning rapier’s slash caused his crystal brooch to be vulnerable and open to attack on the other side—that was where Kiri came out, pointing his sword to the crystal brooch...
Ein’s warning wasn’t that useful, as everything happened in the blink of an eye... Beside, Ein’s attention was also divided among Clavis and Alt-nii.
And thus, Clavis’ crystal brooch was shattered to pieces.
Two enemies defeated, it seemed that my team’s victory was certain!
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