While being jostled by the heated-up crowd, he pushed his way through and moved forward. While apologizing to the surrounding crowd, with light movements he quickly arrived at the front row of the spectator seats.
「Oh, it seems like I somehow made it in time. It was worth it to leave the work to my subordinates」
Stroking the stubble on his chin, Cody muttered after he found that black-haired boy standing on the stage. Cody’s squad had been ordered to patrol all around the city. He had pushed that work onto his 3 subordinates including Robinson, and had sneaked out to observe the fighting tournament. Right about now, his subordinates would be working while resentfully complaining about him. He would receive scoldings after they met later, but for now he forgot about that and gave preference to satisfying his curiosity.
Sitting in a seat which had a good view, he watched a few matches that weren’t very interesting. Finally, the boy whom he had been waiting for, appeared on the stage. His outfit seemed like it was tailor-made for him with the material being good quality leather. Even the gauntlet equipped on his left arm, from its color, it seemed to be made from materials different from the general bronze ones.
(That’s superior than the ones used by the low-class knights(us). Is he a noble from somewhere?)
Even the name that was called was Mr.Lord, which was obviously an alias. From his outfit, the probability of him being a common citizen was low. In that case, it would be quite hard to lure him into the chivalric order. Actually recruiting him would completely depend on his strength, so Cody had come here to ascertain that.
In other words, this would work as a splendid pretense of him scouting out a talent who could carry the chivalric order in the future. By no means was he slacking off. He had also prepared to argue with such sophistry when the time came. With this, he could concentrate on the boy’s match without any anxiety.
「Then let’s see what you’ve………got?」
But before Cody could finish his sentence, the match was over. Immediately after the ‘Start!’ call, Lord closed the distance between himself and his opponent in a single step, flicked away his opponent’s sword and thrust his own sword tip before the opponent.
The match hadn’t even taken 3 seconds, being concluded at lightning speed. It was understandable that the opponent boy’s eyes had become dots.
And yet, coupled with that sharp gaze which seemed as though he wanted to kill, it might have induced much more fear than the fake sword thrust in front of the boy. Swallowed by the murderous aura of Lord, the opponent boy declared his surrender in a quavering voice.
Due to the match ending instantaneously, even the crowd which was excited, didn’t know what had happened and was making a stir. Without even minding the surrounding crowd’s bewilderment, Lord left the stage.
「………Oioi, isn’t this real outstanding talent?」
The strength of the participants in this sort of tournament would be in all ranges. Even the current opponent boy had sufficient strength, but it was only to the degree of when speaking within that given age group. In other words, it wasn’t the part about him winning that needed to be noted. His speed was what was astonishing. Most probably, the other boy might have felt something like before he realized, he had lost. If he just compared only with regards to speed, then Lord would completely outclass his current subordinates.
Even while being surrounded by a few thousand spectators, without faltering even by a little, he had overwhelmed his opponent with movements that had no hesitation or useless parts. Although he was still immature with regards to mind, skill and body, being able to exhibit that much physical ability under such a situation was splendid.
This much talent, it would be wasteful to keep it hidden. Thinking like that may be due to the ego of belonging to the chivalric order, but as far as Cody was concerned, they would lose nothing by increasing the amount of excellent people. Even if he called it scouting, the right to decided whether a person would join or not was left to themselves, but Cody didn’t have such an admirable personality so as to hold back due to this.
(It seems like it would be good to call dibs on him. But……..)
From the previous match, Cody perceived a certain indication from Lord. It was as though he was rushing the match, a negligible but sure impatience was present.
It was that Lord who had seen through Cody’s strength with not even an instant passing when their gazes had intersected this morning. There was no way he could not have perceived the difference in strength between himself and his opponent. Obviously, it wouldn’t even become a reason to rush for the win. It might have just been simply Cody misunderstanding.
But if that wasn’t the case, then towards what was he showing that impatience. This doubt remained within Cody’s head.
When he noticed Colette, Harold’s actions were extremely fast. Along with the call for the start of the match, he broke into a quick attack, made his opponent surrender instantly and left the stage.
He hurriedly returned to the tournament participants’ room and while frantically moving his eyes, he started searching for a certain boy.
Since Colette was here, the probability of him too being here was high. The protagonist of 『Brave Hearts』, Ryner.
The problem was whether he was a spectator like Colette or a participant in the tournament. The worst case would be when he would have to fight Ryner in this tournament.
Unfortunately, Harold’s prayer,’Please be in the spectator seats’, vanished into thin air. That embodiment of naturally highly-spirited and liveliness, his spiky hair entered Harold’s vision. His hair color was as he remembered, a burning red.
When the name Ryner Griffith was called, he dashed towards the stage with a state of having excessive fighting spirit. Harold’s head hung down after he confirmed that figure. With this, it became definite that Ryner was participating in the tournament.
(Seriously ～……….? Should I give up before I face him?)
This development shouldn’t have been there in the game. In the game, when he reaches Delfit, there was a scene where Ryner would be surprised looking at a huge ship. ‘So it was the first time he had come to Delfit’, such words were said. He completely didn’t understand how that would lead to him participating in the fighting tournament.
In any case, he would let sleeping dogs lie1. While he was thinking of withdrawing from the tournament by giving some vague reason, he suddenly realized that what he was doing now was the same as what he had done this morning. Without even thinking deeply, just because they were characters that appeared in the game, he was reflexively trying to avoid them.
If he thought back to it, the reason Ryner was hostile towards Harold was mainly because of Clara being killed and Harold’s speech and behavior within the story. And Harold had already cleared Clara’s matter.
Although his speech was like that, even in the future, he had the intention to act decently like how he had done until now. This meant that there would be no reason for Ryner to hate him. Instead, it would be a good plan to get along with him. Although he had no intention to be included in the hero party that was always at the front lines with the highest danger, it was possible to give them advise on increasing their war potential by using his knowledge about the game. If they became hostile, there was no way that they would even listen to him.
When he thought until there, his head had also cooled down a lot. In the first place, even if Erika and Colette met, it would be their first time seeing each other. As long as Harold wasn’t present when they met, there was no way his past actions would be discovered.
Since Erika wouldn’t get close to Harold on her own, it would be a good chance to indirectly inquire about Colette and Ryner’s relationship through this tournament.
While confirming Ryner’s strength at the present point of time, if Harold could get acquainted with him for the future, he could also build a friendly relationship. There was no need to simply stand and watch this chance slip away from right under his nose. As he established his objective, Harold shifted his awareness towards the match. When he turned towards the stage, it was just when Ryner had won the match. He was happily making a Guts-pose.
Although it was hypothetical, he was still the Hero that would save the world in the future. ‘If talking with regards to the game, even if he was level 1, he wouldn’t lose in this kind of place’, was what Harold wanted to think. That said, for now he should frankly congratulate him. It would also help him start a conversation.
(What should I say? Congrats……..would become “Well, aren’t you impulsive”. What is that? That’s so arrogant. Uh.., to make it harmless and inoffensive……….)
While he was thinking of such things, Ryner had already come near him. Wanting to stop him, Harold spontaneously said these words.
「Oi, you, Red hair」
As a result, he made a mistake in choosing his words. Together with his posture, where he had folded his arms while leaning his back on the wall, his words came off as being extraordinarily haughty. But once the words left his mouth, there was no way they would return. At the words ‘Red hair’, Ryner’s feet stopped.
As soon as Ryner, who was stopped, became aware of Harold, he suddenly drew closer. When Harold thought that he might have gotten angry, there was no anger in those eyes, but for some reason they were blazing with a fire.
「Say, aren’t you that incredibly fast guy? I was watching, but I didn’t understand at all! How did you do that? Can I also do that!?」
That manner of his contained so much force that it made even Harold, who had called him, want to back away. Even in the game, he was a character who had retained his childishness, but when he was actually a kid, it was all the more powerful.
「Even if it’s just a little trick for it, please teach me! If that’s not possible, it’s fine even if you just tell what kind of practice you do regularly! Even I carry weights and run around, but I can’t move as fast as you」
「To start with, close that needlessly functioning mouth」
「Ah, sorry. Come to think, I still haven’t introduced myself. I’m Ryner!」
Ryner cheerfully extended his right hand.
After hesitating for a moment, Harold shook that hand.
「………..Harold. Call me however you want」
「Okay! Yoroshiku2, Harold!」
Ryner turned a worry-free grin towards Harold. For him, they were already friends. Ryner was a boy like that. Even for Harold, that was a likeable point. Contacting this pure boy completely due to ulterior motives hurt Harold’s conscience a bit, but he ignored it.
「I saw your fighting style but you were somewhat impulsive. Although, you’re much better than these other riffraff」
「Hee, thank you」
No matter what, one could only think that he was trying to agitate the other participants. Obviously, grim glares flew towards them from the surrounding people, but without noticing them, Ryner frankly became shy. It seemed as though him being an idiot who couldn’t understand sarcasm hadn’t changed. For Harold, where the forcibly used abusive language was a cause of constant annoyance, truthfully he was considerably grateful for that kind of reaction.
「But I have no duty to expressly teach you anything. If you want to know, then fight against me and try to steal it. Only if you’re able to keep winning up through the tournament though」
「I’ll do it! Harold too, don’t lose before you fight against me, alright?」
「Who do you think you’re speaking to. The only thing you’ll be able to learn is that the difference in strength between us is as huge as the difference between heaven and earth」
「I’m looking forward to it. Well, later! Next time, let’s meet during the match!」
Ryner, with that friendly smile until now disappearing, instead smiling belligerently and Harold, who was as haughty as usual. Determined and fearless. For now, this was the preliminary encounter.
From afar, the other participants were glowering at those 2 who were like that. Since both of them spoke as though they didn’t care about anybody else than the one in front of themselves, it couldn’t be helped that the others thought that those 2 were provoking them.
Unexpectedly, he had raised the hurdle for Ryner, but if he was hero, then he could easily jump over them all.
「Only then will this fight be worth it」
Harold mumbled while looking at his right hand, which had been grasped strongly.
1. The saying used here is actually -sawaranu kami ni tatari nashi – which translates to -If you don’t touch a god, you won’t be cursed.
2.This is like the most common annoying to translate word. Although it could be translated to ‘Please take care of me’, that becomes too polite coming from Ryner. So I left it as it is. If anybody has any suggestions, please do tell.