Raishin didn’t recover consciousness, but time marched on nonetheless, and it was now the second night.
As things stood, it was currently a Monday. Even though the Night Party had already begun, only a handful of students were actually involved in it. Hence lessons and classes continued to be held.
After those classes were over, it was after school time. Around six in the evening, with the sun sinking, the students once again started gathering around the field of battle.
Other than casual observers, there were those who were there to gather research. While the crowd was not as huge as the day before, it was still large enough that the mobile stall opened for business.
Amongst the hustle and bustle, Charl was also present.
She had no intention of being there to search for Loki’s weak point so that after Raishin recovered, she could give it to him. Obviously, she had another reason. A completely unrelated and different reason. It wasn’t like she was trying to help Raishin. Not at all.
Since she didn’t eat anything at all last night, the smell of food made her stomach rumble. Hesitating in front of the mobile stall, she eventually surrendered to the smell, and bought some doughnuts. Sharing some with Sigmund, she waited for the battle to begin.
Tonight, Silent Roar— Frey would make her appearance.
Shortly, Loki appeared on the field with Cherubim following closely behind him. He had his hands thrust into his pockets, waiting for Frey to show up.
The crowd of students began to whisper amongst themselves.
“Look. His highness the Sword Emperor is full of confidence.”
“He has every right to be. Even if those who numbered 50 and below were to team up, they still wouldn’t be a match for the Sword Emperor. You saw what happened yesterday to Second Last. That was like a sneak preview of the fights to come.”
“In that case, Silent Roar might not even turn up. Their difference in power is too great.”
“In the first place, why would he want to throw away his own position and drop down all the way to such a low level? Once you change your seat, you can’t reclaim your original seat, right?”
“No idea. But I heard he was interested in Second Last or something.”
“Shh. Silent Roar is making her way out now.”
The voices died down. All attention was now turned onto one spot, and Charl too, turned to look.
Her pearl hair fluttering, a weak looking female student was making her way to the field. Behind her, a dog automaton with wolf like fur followed.
It was Frey. Even though she was Charl’s senior by one year, it didn’t feel like it. On the contrary, Charl felt like she was giving support to a junior by watching over her as she entered into the field.
There wasn’t any signal given to indicate the match had begun. Once you entered the field battle commenced immediately. However, Loki didn’t make any attempt to attack.
Instead, he stared intensely at Frey, before sighing languidly.
“Quite frankly, this is a surprise.”
It was a voice barely above a whisper. Frey was surprised, but Loki continued on nonetheless.
“I thought you wouldn’t show up, that you’d run away from this battle.”
“… I’m not doing that.”
“That’s what I’m surprised about. It isn’t like you. Ever since we were kids, you were always slow at doing things, clumsy, and quick to give up. Easily frightened by everything, you’d always hide behind my back. Surely you, who are like that, can’t be serious about facing me?”
“… Loki, ever since we were children, you always were able to do anything.”
Casting her eyes onto the floor, Frey softly muttered.
“Always able to do things promptly… Smart… Strong… Not clumsy at all. I liked being able to hide behind your back.”
She bit her lip in silence. After a moment, she lifted her head up.
“But, then is then, and now is now. Even I am a student at this academy… Someone who aims for the Wiseman’s throne, and a puppeteer.”
Stiffly raising her gaze, she stared straight at Loki.
Loki looked shocked. Charl was also surprised by Frey’s declaration. The weak air that she always gave off had disappeared, replaced by a fierce determination, as well as a dignified air.
“Loki… I don’t know if you hate me, but…”
Frey’s ample chest— Charl felt her inferiority complex acting up— heaved as she declared,
“I will fight. If I keep hiding behind Loki’s back, I will never be able to protect anything.”
“Protect? What are you—“
A bluish white light shone. A line of magic energy extended, connecting Rabi and Frey.
The match had begun. Against everyone’s expectations, the one who made the first move was Frey.
Rabi’s howl caused sonic waves to form, creating a “bullet” that he shot out. It acted like a drill, ploughing through the lawn, causing chunks of earth to be dislodged as it sped forward.
Loki was rooted to the ground. However, Cherubim reacted, covering its master.
With a swing of its blade, it dissipated the mysterious bullet. In that moment, it was very slight, but there was a surge of magic energy from Loki. Even Charl could only feel it ever so slightly; the rest of the students were completely unaware that Loki had used a magic art.
Several short swords emerged from Cherubim’s back, and were fired out in rapid succession.
Rabi dodged the incoming swords with surprising agility. However, the short swords seemed to have a will of their own, changing their trajectory to target Rabi after he had dodged, tenaciously chasing after him.
One of the swords managed to graze Rabi’s leg.
It wasn’t a shallow cut either. Blood was flowing, and Rabi’s movements had slowed.
Frey wasn’t flustered. Calmly, she focused her magic energy.
“Rabi! One more time!”
Rabi released another bullet. Sucking the short swords into the vortex, it flew towards Cherubim.
And just like earlier, Cherubim swung its blade, and the bullet dissipated once again.
“I told you it was weak.”
Loki sent his magic energy over, and the short swords began to dance in the air again.
There was no dodging this time. Slicing Rabi in various areas, he let out a high whine of pain.
Frey ran over, hugging him in support. Soon, the shadow of Loki loomed over her.
There was a sneer of derision on his face, but there was no triumph in it.
With cold eyes, Loki stared down at Frey.
“It ends now. I suggest you close your eyes.”
Cherubim hefted its blade. Swinging that heavy blade down, it looked like it was aiming to cleave Rabi neatly in two— but at that moment, something abnormal happened.
Magic energy strong enough to repel the blade and send it flying backwards burst out from Frey’s whole body.
Such density! I can actually see a black mist in the air!
Charl’s eyes were wide open in shock. Sigmund had spread his wings, exposing his wariness.
(What magic energy…! How could any human being be able to release this much…!?)
Loki and Cherubim jumped back, increasing the distance between them.
In that moment though, Rabi’s figure had abruptly changed.
His shoulders were raised, and his claws were bared. His fur was standing on the end, like a hedgehog’s quills. His body also increased in size, rather than a dog it was now closer to an alpha wolf. The biggest change of all though, was reserved for his face. His bared fangs made him look like a beast straight out of hell. If the mythological Cerberus existed, his face would be the spitting image of Rabi’s.
Frey was shocked by the sudden and massive outburst of magic energy.
(Her state has changed. Is this really… Frey’s magic art?)
Rabi howled loudly.
His roar caused the atmosphere around him to tremble, and massive amounts of magic energy began to flow into him till the point of hurting his skin, like an electric shock.
Frey sank to her knees. Releasing that much magic energy meant that an equivalent toll was inflicted onto her body. Frey’s skin began to tear in places, and blood started seeping out.
“Ah… Ahh…. Ahhh!?”
She started to scream in pain. The sudden burst of blood covering her made her look like a daruma; beside her Rabi was gnashing his teeth and howling menacingly at Cherubim.
No one could have foreseen such a turn of events, but then, Rabi began his fierce onslaught.