Chapter 0270 Duel
“Your Majesty, please forgive me for defiling your presence with blood.”
Ryo turned to Abel and bowed reverently.
“M-Mm…since it’s a duel, it can’t be helped.”
Abel, too, may just be struggling to keep up with the rapidity or abnormality of the development, or perhaps had outright given up on the whole thing and was just waiting to see how things played out…probably the latter.
“Now, Mr. Harold, are you sure you want to do this?”
“Quit bitchin’! And draw out your sword too!”
Ryo tried confirming one more time, and Harold yelled back.
By this time, Hugh McGrath had retreated to the wall of the audience chamber, watching the developments.
Marquis Heinlein also moved to the opposite side of the wall, along with the muzzled cunning-looking noble, after instructing the guards.
In the center of the audience chamber, only Ryo and the party of three were left.
“<Ice Wall 10-Layer Package>”
Ryo chanted, and a wall of ice was erected on all sides and the ceiling.
However, only the priest in the group was surprised by it.
Harold’s other party member…probably a dual swordsman judging from his gear, was apparently too worked up to even notice such changes.
“Wait, <Ice Wall>…Ryo, isn’t this a duel using the sword?”
Abel’s muttering was heard only by Queen Rihya, who was standing by his side….
And Rihya shook her head slightly.
“Now, I’m fine with the three of you coming together. With Mr. Harold alone, I’m afraid it won’t even qualify as a warm-up.”
“Say that again, you wretch!”
Harold easily fell for Ryo’s provocation.
The dual swordsman too had lost it completely.
Only the priest was keeping his cool with his staff at the ready.
(I knew it, the priest is about the only exceptional one among this lot…although he’s got me all curious…)
That’s right, although he’s piqued his interest, he didn’t provoke Harold just to see how well the priest would fare.
Not by a long shot.
Okay, scratch that, my bad. That was a lie.
He roped Harold in because he wanted to see how skilled the priest was.
“This duel will be fought between Harold and his party members against Ryo, a C-rank adventurer. Are both sides ready?”
Harold and Ryo both agreed.
“Then, you may begin!”
As soon as it began, a thick ice lance with a rounded tip was thrust into the bellies of Harold and the dual swordsman.
Before the two fell down in agony, Ryo, the C-rank adventurer launched at Priest Zeke, brandishing an ice sword, with a smile on his face.
Priest Zeke was well on guard.
He understood that the C-rank adventurer Ryo, who had suddenly entered from the side, went through the trouble of bringing up the matter of ‘Cafe de Chocolat’ to reveal that he was the one responsible for their mishaps that day.
Plus, the ice wall….
That alone was enough to demonstrate that he’s no ordinary opponent.
He is an extraordinary magician.
But since he’s a magician, he might be able to turn the fight into close combat… or rather, he had no choice but to do so to stand a chance.
With that in mind, Zeke also held up his staff.
(Generating ice out of nowhere… taking both Harold and Gowan out of the fight!? Like, what the hell!)
As that thought was going through his mind, the magician appeared in front of him.
Wielding an ice sword, no less!？
(I can’t take it head-on!)
At that split moment, Zeke decided so, stopped parrying the ice sword with his staff, and dodged it with his body movement.
Furthermore, the sword which should have been swung downward, zeroed in on him from below diagonally without pause, and he tried to dodge it again by shifting his balance and pulling his leg back slightly.
(Damn, I can’t…)
He reached his limit.
The sword slammed into his torso…and although he didn’t get slashed, he passed out right away.
Ryo was surprised.
Because the priest avoided the attacks up until the final pseudo Tsubame-Gaeshi* move. (TLN: Swallow flight reversal – a kendo technique)
(I knew it, this priest seems to have been trained from a very tender age…and not in orthodox swordsmanship… not staff technique. It seems a bit different from those of Hume teachings that Abel and the others practice…it’s so intriguing.)
Which was why he reversed Murasame’s blade and struck his torso with the so-called ‘back of the sword’, knocking him out.
Then, he went on and hit the back of the head of the dual swordsman, who was somehow recovering from his agony, with the back of the sword, knocking him out again.
He was only interested in the capable priest.
Very typical of Ryo….
The duel, however, was initiated by Harold, the Mont Blanc punk, and must be settled properly.
That’s the dueling tradition.
Ryo stood in front of Harold and said.
“Well, mont bla…Harold, your friends are all out cold. What now? Oh, I am so sorry, I was wrong. Even if I become a duke, I will never again speak or act in a way that mocks or mistreats the people of this country, if you can say that, I’ll let this be water under the bridge, what say you?”
Harold said, pulling himself up, sword at the ready, and glaring at Ryo.
“You’ve got spunk, I’ll give you that. However, that alone won’t win you this duel…”
Harold shouted, brandishing his sword and charging forward.
But…with Ryo as his opponent, he wouldn’t even graze him, even if he did it a hundred million times….
Ryo in turn caught his sword with Murasame, twirled it around, and flicked it away.
He then struck the Murasame diagonally through Harold’s left shoulder… with the back of the sword, of course.
At the same time as his scream, the sound of Harold’s shoulder bone being shattered was heard.
He poked his shattered left shoulder with Murasame, and then, in one go, with <Water Jet Thruster>, plunged him to the back wall.
The back wall meaning … he slammed into the ice wall he had erected.
Harold passed out from the impact.
Upon confirming this, Ryo withdrew Murasame.
In fact, Harold only suffered a broken shoulder bone because the blade was blunted, thinking that it would be too much to stab him.
Harold’s body fell helplessly to the floor.
“<Ice Wall, Release>”
Ryo deactivated the ice wall, and the priests were hastily called in to begin healing the three of them.
“Shattering someone’s shoulder and then sticking a sword through it…”
“I didn’t stick my sword in though. But, I heard that Mr. Alfonso once had a sword stuck into him in the past.”
Abel muttered, and Ryo added his explanation. In a very third-party manner.
Needless to say, it was a certain elven female swordsman who stabbed him.
Alfonso Spinazola succeeded the Rune Frontier Count two years ago. He is now twenty-two years old.
“So…what are you going to do about Harold and his party, Ryo?”
“What do you mean?”
They were still in the audience chamber.
Ryo was standing at the bottom of the throne, without getting down on one knee.
Then a man who seemed like he wanted to complain to Ryo approached him from the side….
“Oh, my bad.”
Ryo said and peeled off the ice covering the mouth of the cunning-looking noble.
“You mongrel! The gall to do that to my mouth, I, the Count of Dotama…”
“Oh, I see that you and that Mont Blanc punk are birds of the same feather. <Ice Coffin>.”
The cunning-looking Count, Count Dotama, was frozen in ice.
“Finally some quiet.”
“Ah, yeah, how merciless…”
Ryo looked at the ice coffin and nodded in satisfaction at the workmanship as he said so.
Abel was about to utter some short remark as he usually does as King… but decided not to, and returned to his usual self.
“So, you asked what I’m going to do about them…well, nothing?”
“No, that’s kinda…”
“If Crown Prince Cain were here, he would scold him way harder!”
“Nah, he probably wouldn’t scold him…”
“Oh, so he’d give him a mountain of homework and let him figure it out for himself… damn, that’s deep.”
“That’s right…a crushing mountain of homework like I was given…”
Ryo admired the deep thoughtfulness of Crown Prince Cain, and Abel immersed himself in reminiscing the mountain of homework Cain had given him.
“I don’t want to be violent, but someone needs to give him one more good whack… oh, and I don’t give two shits about the Mont Blanc punk, the priest on the other hand, is something else. He’s a super, super gem!”
“You mean Zeke. He’s originally from the Empire. And a priest from the Imperial Temple, which is rare. When he turned eighteen, he moved with his mother to the Central Temple in the royal capital and became an adventurer two years ago. His skills in particular is regarded rather highly by Etho.”
Grand Master Hugh added to Ryo’s impressions.
“I see. Well, his skill as a priest is one thing, but he’s pretty good with the sword, too, you know?”
“I knew it…I thought so when I saw his staff techniques…. His movements are those of one who has been thoroughly drilled in the basics since childhood. You can’t hide something like that even if you tried.”
Hugh said as he nodded repeatedly.
Abel sighed deeply as he watched them.
On account of Harold.
He will have to make Harold a duke, eventually.
He is the cherished nephew of the current king.
The direct bloodline of the Knightley royal family is already scarce enough as it is.
He cannot afford to leave a precious male heir unattended in case something happens to him in the future.
However, he’s also wondering if it’s a good idea to appoint someone so lawless as a high-ranking noble and someone related to the royal family… to the position of duke….
If what Ryo accused him of before the duel is true, then he’s someone with far too many issues….
“What do I do…?”
Abel muttered and sighed yet again, very deeply.