Today is the day after the written exams which also means that it's the day for the combat exams. Unlike the written exams, the combat exams take two entire days to finish and that's because of how it works. The combat exam is an exam to see the combat proficiency of a participant. This is done by holding a lot of 1-on-1 matches between the applicants. The applicants don't particularly need to win as the judging is based on your performance overall, meaning that even if you lose, as long as they judge that you're good enough, you pass. An example of this is the match between Riel and one of the main characters, Gushiken Tsurugi. In the game, Riel fights and defeats Tsurugi yet both of them were accepted and became students.
As for who Tsurugi is, I don't know much, but from what I recall, he's a noble from the Eastern Empire and is a prodigy. As for his role in the game, he declares that Riel is his rival after Riel beats him. But from what I remember, he never beat Riel once, except for the one time during what Ota-chan calls "The True Tsurugi Route". He is also joined by two other people from his family. Well, I say family, but they're more akin to his friends since they aren't actually related by blood. Other than that, I don't know much about him.
Back to the topic at hand, not all applicants are required to take the combat exam, in fact, applicants are only required to take one of the three exams. From what I've heard from Papa, they would pick the most talented out of all the applicants. The more talent they have, the more likely they are to be accepted. This means that the better you are at more things, the higher their evaluations are of you. Some people who get accepted only took one of the exams, others took multiple. But just because you're mediocre at all three things doesn't make you more valuable than someone who's above average at just one thing. This is because the Academy's main goal is to foster the young talents and help them grow.
As for why I'm taking all three exams, this is because Papa wouldn't take no for an answer. What is this, Princess Maker? He really wants me to be number one in all three of the categories. Even I don't know if it's possible for me. I know Riel managed to do it in the game, but that was him. But regardless, I'll try my best so that they won't be let down.
"I'm so nervous."
"I hope I get in."
"I, I have to get in."
"I hope I don't get a strong one."
"Hah! Compared to you, everyone is a strong one."
As I entered the academy, I heard the anxious voices around me. Unlike them, I'm confident I'll get in mainly because my father was very sure about it. The real problem is whether or not I find a worthy opponent here. Of course, there are lots of them, but I'm mainly talking about swordsmanship-wise. I want to face against someone using pure swordsmanship, none of that magic stuff. I don't take magic lightly, it's just that I enjoy a fight with just swords and nothing else. Well, not necessarily swords, they could use other weapons I guess, but what I really want is one of those traditional fights.
If possible, I want to fight against one of the Tempests. I've heard that they excel at using swords. Hopefully one of them inherited Friggus Tempest's talent for the sword. But I wouldn't be surprised if no one were as strong as me, after all, I am a swordmaster, albeit not an awakened one. I became a swordmaster about a year ago which meant that my growth, which was temporarily stunted, was back to normal, but unfortunately, I needed to be awakened in order to use sword aura. Up to this day, I haven't figured out what my attribute is, which is why I was sent here. My main reason for being in this kingdom instead of staying in the Empire is to broaden my horizons and possibly awaken.
That is why I need to find a rival. My father said that a rival is a necessary existence for a swordsman. According to my father, a rival is someone that you consider as your true equal. But just because someone is as good as you doesn't mean that they're automatically a rival. A rival is someone that is supposed to be your main driving force to become stronger. Not someone that you want to reach, not someone that you want to dominate, but someone who will grow alongside you during your journey. Just as they become a driving force for your growth, you become theirs. And it doesn't even have to be someone who is as strong as you, it could also be someone who is slightly stronger or weaker than you, as long as you recognize them as someone fitting to be your rival.
As these thoughts were going through my head, I hear someone calling my name.
"..., Gushiken Tsugiri and Riel Lostbelt, Diana Markovich and Hans Tranoix, Herbert Liebel and Peter Smirnoff, you are the next batch so please prepare. I repeat. You are the next batch so please prepare."
Lostbelt? I don't know which family that is. I don't think it's a noble of this kingdom. Maybe it's some noble from a small country. Doesn't matter, all I know is this person is not famous. If he were, then I would've heard of his name. How disappointing. But I can't lose hope just yet. Maybe it's a hidden prodigy. I can only hope.
Really? Y-you've gotta be kidding me! Isn't it random? So how is it that I have to fight him? "Sometimes fate isn't all that bad" my ass! Fate sucks! Oh shit oh shit I have to get prepared! We're the next batch! Oh god, I can only hope that I can at least put up a fight. I knew I should've trained the days before, but noooo, I just had to get cocky now didn't I? Hopefully, I'm not as rusty as I should be.
After a few minutes, it finally became our turn. I then look at the person standing in front of me. He looked a bit nervous and was even shaking. What a shame, I thought I could finally fight someone worth fighting. Wait a minute, he looks a bit familiar. Isn't he the guy who saved that girl a week ago? Yeah, that is the guy who saved the girl from the thugs. But if he's able to fight against those thugs, then why does he look so pathetic right now? No, don't tell me, he's one of those people who set up an elaborate trap just to impress a girl! W-what a total scum! I should beat him badly so he learns his lesson!
W-what? He looks like he's about to kill me! What did I do? I, I thought he was one of those honor-obsessed swordsmen so why is he angry at me? O-oh no, I think I'm gonna die. Mom, Papa, I love you both. I'm about to die a second time. Vier, please take care of Onee-chan. Liz, I hope you don't die from some stupid accident that you'll get yourself into because I'm not there to make sure that doesn't happen. I hope you'll find another poor sucker who'll take care of you. World, I hope you're happy.
H-how? How did he beat me? I fought with all I had, but he beat me, no, he didn't just beat me, he destroyed me. It's not that he caught me off guard because of his act of looking pathetic, he was just too strong. He didn't even use magic, he just beat me using pure swordsmanship. I could tell since I can sense magic. Us non-magic users train ourselves to sense the presence of magic in order to combat magic users, but I felt none of that from him. But something else was there. Other than his superior skills, I felt as if something else was happening. Wait, no. What if, he is an awakened swordmaster and that he used sword aura! W-what a great man! To be able to use sword aura this young, he can only be classified as a genius. I, have to talk to him!
Woah, that was unnervingly easy. All his moves were pretty fast, but it wasn't something I couldn't handle. Oh, he's coming closer. I wonder if he's still pissed at me. Even though I could easily knock him out, I don't think I can beat the entirety of the Empire if I were to piss them off by knocking the lights out of their young prodigy.
"U-uhm, I'm Gushiken Tsurugi, you can call me Tsurugi." (Tsurugi)
"O-oh, I'm Riel Lostbelt, you can call me Riel. S-so, what are you here for?" (Riel)
"W-well, I have a request for you." (Tsurugi)
W-what? Is he going to tell me to keep this a secret? The fact that I beat him?
"C-could you p-please..." (Tsurugi)
"P-p-p-please make me your disciple!!!" (Tsurugi)