“Are you serious?! How could you?! I can’t believe this!”
It was a lively Saturday afternoon. Students were thronging the cafeteria, which was built out of reinforced concrete, with one wall made entirely out of glass. Inside this modern building, a girl’s voice could be heard clearly.
It belonged to the young girl with an elf-like beauty to her, Charlotte Belew.
Sharing the same table as her were Raishin and Yaya. Also, a small dragon— Charl’s partner, Sigmund, was on top of the table munching on some chicken.
“You don’t have to yell at me three times.”
Raishin averted his eyes from her glare. Charl picked up her fork and thrust it in the direction of Raishin,
“You let someone who said ‘I am going to assassinate you’ get away? Are you some kind of despicable coward?!”
“Don’t call me that. What was I supposed to do?”
“I’d have retaliated right there and then.”
“As expected, the great T-rex’s thinking process is on a whole ‘nother level.”
With a wry grin, Raishin stabbed his fork into his fried fish.
“Unfortunately, I am a civilized person. I’m not going to stoop to something that barbaric.”
“You, civilized? Ha! That’s really funny, coming from someone who attacked me, and used violence to try and steal a woman’s most important thing from me.”
“Don’t say it in such a weird way! People who are eating here will get the wrong idea!”
His fears were quickly realized. The low whisperings were accompanied by waves of hostility in his direction. Even without turning around, he could feel the painful gazes of the female students on him.
Yaya bit her lower lip, her voice trembling as she struggled to get the words out of her mouth.
“Raishin… you… you actually… did that…!”
“Don’t believe her, Yaya. In fact, weren’t you with me the whole time during that incident?”
“That’s so cruel Raishin! Even though Yaya has asked you to use her if you ever felt like it!”
Yaya had broken down into tears. Trying to explain things now would be a waste of time. Feeling a headache coming on, Raishin rubbed his temples, and continued,
“Let’s just put that aside for now.”
He decided to completely ignore Yaya. Yaya exclaimed “Put that aside!?” and continued to sob even louder. Raishin used his hand to cover her mouth, and continued speaking.
“Retaliating would have been pointless. It’s not like the other party was a participant in the upcoming battle anyway.”
“You say that, but the truth is you didn’t have the confidence to win against her, right?”
With a teasing grin on her face, Charl took out a notebook, and quickly scanned the pages.
“White hair, with a dog constantly following her around; there could only be one person who fits that description.”
She pointed out an entry inside with her finger.
“Third year, Frey— registration code Silent Roar. She was originally the 100th seat. She went two ranks up, and one rank down, and now she’s in 99th place. Your opponent for the first battle.”
‘What? That girl… is a participant in the Night Party?”
He couldn’t imagine her possessing a gauntlet. Her weak face and withdrawn nature didn’t seem like a fit, but more importantly, he couldn’t imagine her having the grades to qualify.
“What, didn’t you know?”
“The top ranks might be able to remember with one glance, but us lowly mortals have to go through harsh memorization before we can recall such details.”
“Hmph, such composed frankness. You really are an irritatingly rude person.”
An eerie aura was floating over from the silent Yaya. Waving it off with her notebook, Charl turned her chest away and continued on, undaunted.
“It’s as you can see. You’ve already demonstrated your strength, so there’s going to be people who’ll try to make you disappear before the Night Party starts.”
“Why go through all that trouble? As my ‘first opponent’, we’d meet in the first round anyway.”
“Are you an idiot? Do you have a death wish? You’ll never win with that sort of mentality.”
“I’m pretty shocked. You really lack self-awareness. After all, you did defeat the head of the public morals committee…”
She broke off. A moment later, she strongly continued, like she was using words to put the past behind them.
“You defeated Felix Kingsfort. To the hundred participants in the Night Party, you are a dangerous dark horse. Anyone ranked below 50th place is fearful of you and your abilities.”
At that moment, Sigmund raised his head, having ripped of a piece off chicken skin.
“It’s probably just gossip though.”
He was looking out of the window. Charl, Raishin and Yaya turned to look as well. In front of the cafeteria, The Main Street ran from north to south. And right in the middle of that, someone was setting up a cage that was used for holding bears.
Even though he was sick of it, her pearl coloured hair stood out. And of course, since that person was none other than Frey, her loyal partner Rabi could also be seen. Displaying impressive power that bellied his size, Rabi was hauling the cage into position.
Once he stopped, Frey lifted the iron bars, and stepped inside.
She took out a questionable magazine whose front cover was adorned with a picture of a half-naked girl.
She placed it in the middle of the cage. It appeared that the magazine was… bait.
He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He didn’t want to believe it.
(Does she really think I’m the sort of guy who’d fall for that!?)
While Raishin stood there, mortified, sure enough— as he’d come to expect from her, the lock securing the iron bars came undone, and with a loud crash slammed shut on her.
Being locked in, Frey stood there in a daze for a few seconds.
After about 10 seconds in, she finally seemed to grasp the reality of the situation she was in. Panicking inside the cage, she frantically ran about, tripping on her long scarf and falling down.
She struggled to get back on her feet. …. Similar to the net incident, she was hopelessly slow.
Rabi was outside, nervously circling the cage. It appeared he wasn’t very bright either.
Suddenly, his ears perked up. Noticing something, Rabi turned around.
A slender, male student had come to a halt in front of the cage.
He had a half-sized mantle draped over his shoulder, and his face had a graceful look to it. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to call him a pretty boy, but his eyes were sharp, and the look on his face would make a lesser man flinch.
And his hair— it was a brilliant shade of pearl.
Behind him was a grotesque looking automaton that looked like several steel sheets had been crunched together to form a humanoid appearance.
If one word was used to describe it, it would be “Painful”. Thorn-like protrusions covered its body, which themselves were covered with multiple thin edges. The whole body was metallic, giving it a wholly artificial looking existence. Instead of hands, two large blades were set in place. The blades were roughly the length of Yaya’s height. This was probably a blade that relied on its heavy weight to force its way through objects.
Looking at the male student, Charl spoke in a surprised voice.
“It’s «Sword Emperor» Loki.”
“«Sword Emperor»… You mean Sacred Blaze?”
“That’s right. One of the 13 members of the «Rounds», as well as someone who’s been acknowledged as a potential rival to the «Marshal». He’s been undefeated in all his mock battles. Even though he’s only a second year, he’s already one of the 10 most powerful in the school.”
“Wow. But how do I say it… he kinda resembles Frey. Especially their colour.”
“Well that’s obvious. They’re siblings.”
Having heard that, when he looked closely their faces did resemble each other somewhat. However, they didn’t look like a pair of siblings who got along well. They look like they were just exchanging words with each other, when—
Suddenly, Loki grabbed hold of Frey’s scarf, pulling her up against the bars.
Reflexively, Raishin stood up. Charl was startled.
“Wait, Raishin! Are you planning on sticking your neck into that?”
“I’m just going to take a look at the situation. Let’s go, Yaya.”
“Wait! Loki isn’t one of those gentlemanly magus types. If you tangle with him with your previous attitude, don’t think you’ll be able to settle things so simply as last time!”
Ignoring her kind warning, Raishin stepped out.
“Fine! I’m not responsible for what happens next!”
Charl crossly returned to eating her pasta. Sigmund though, had already finished his meal, and was licking his plate clean, tail wagging in satisfaction.