Ch 12 – Angry (1)
It was a somewhat early time for dinner.
Just like last week, Noctar and I decided to have a match before our meal.
Kiiiiik─ Upon arriving at the training hall, Noctar and I headed straight to the arena.
Numerous practice weapons greeted us on their racks.
Among them, Noctar chose a two-handed mace.
I chuckled lightly.
“You don't have to go that easy on me.” The two-handed mace is Ralph Viole's primary weapon in my practical evaluation.
He must have chosen the mace to help me prepare.
I already received a lot of help from Noctar, which made me feel somewhat guilty.
“No, it's because I feel like I won't be able to restrain myself if I use an axe today.
My excitement just won't stop.” Saying so, Noctar began to warm up.
It must be because he had sensed my heightened aura from my Natural Power all day.
Orcs are a race of warriors.
Unlike most humans, they prefer to fight against strong opponents.
That being said, I wonder how long I can last today.
Three minutes? Five minutes? Although not as proficient as with an axe, Noctar is good with a mace.
It's his second-best weapon.
I picked a longsword and shield, then proceeded to warm up as well.
The power I could feel deep within me seemed to be boiling over.
Simply warming up already made me feel a distinctly different strength than before.
Just like Noctar, my heart raced.
Step by step.
After finishing my warm-up, I approached Noctar, who stood in the center of the spacious arena.
Noctar, seemingly excited for the upcoming battle, grinned and showed his fangs.
“Hehe, let's get started then…
Huh? Some of our friends have arrived.” I turned around.
“Nice to see you, Noctar, Theo.
We didn't know someone else would be here first.” “Orc Captain and…
Dumbhead.” It was Neike and Piel de Chalon.
It seemed they came for a match as well.
They were to face each other in the upcoming practical evaluation.
Students from other departments, professors, and facility staff could all watch the Hero Department's evaluations.
Naturally, all other departments take a break on that day.
It is an opportunity to see the future heroes they will serve in advance.
Of course, it's optional, but there are no students from other departments who choose not to attend.
Neike and Piel's rankings are first and second.
They're considered prodigies that come along once every ten years, even on a continental scale.
Their match attracts attention not just from the Hero Department, but from everyone across the continent.
By this time tomorrow, the entire academy would have heard the news.
To prove it's the main match, their bout is scheduled for last.
I spoke to them.
“We'll go first.” “Ah, of course.
You guys were here first.
We'll wait; go ahead.” Neike and Piel moved to the spectator seats.
I glanced at them for a moment as they settled in.
Piel will lose.
Neike will win easily in less than a minute.
Afterward, with her pride broken, Piel will be comforted by Neike, and their pink-tinged something will begin.
It's said that capable people can do anything, huh.
Anyway, I have my own battle to fight.
“Huuuuu…” I firmly gripped my sword, exhaled, and glared at Noctar.
Noctar, unlike usual, was radiating a fierce aura.
It felt like I was facing a gladiator from a movie.
The arena was similar to a colosseum, there were even spectators despite them being few, and in front of me stood a gigantic orc, almost 2 meters tall.
Noctar adjusted his grip on his club.
“If you don't come, shall I go first?” “…I'll go.” I immediately stomped on the ground.
From the stands, Piel watched the duel between Theo and Noctar.
'If the orc captain isn't holding back, even if he lasts long… About a minute?' To Piel, all noble senior classmates, peers, and even professors approached with a smile, but she wasn't really interested in her surroundings.
Despite that, she knew about the orc, Noctar Hermod.
His wild and unruly ax skills displayed during the first semester practical evaluation had left an impression on her.
'Does he really have to challenge him?' Theo Lyn Waldeurk.
He had the noblest bloodline besides royalty and her own, but he was a complete fool and utterly incompetent.
To make matters worse, his character was twisted, making him the disgrace of the Hero Department.
Piel couldn't stand that trash tarnishing the reverence she had built up for her noble bloodline.
Huung, huuuung─ The orc's club seemed to tear through the wind, creating a roaring sound.
The difference in their abilities was immense.
To the fool, the orc was an insurmountable wall, almost as much as the gap between Neike and herself.
And yet, “Oh? Theo, you're better than I thought.” Neike, who was next to her, spoke up.
As he said, the fool was putting up a decent fight.
He even used the orc's attack against him to counter.
'Did he always have that level of skill?' Of course, it was nothing compared to Neike or herself, but the fool's movements were agile.
He had strength and stamina as well.
He even held his own in a power struggle with the orc, clashing weapons.
Of course, the situation was in the orc's favor.
At best, the fool was just enduring.
'…But.' The fool's eyes were filled with determination.
It seemed he wasn't just enduring; he aimed to win.
And so, the fool stood against the orc, looking as if he might break but never actually breaking.
“Hahahaha, Theo! What happened to you over the weekend? It's like you've become a different person!” The orc roared as if he was enjoying himself.
At the same time, his movements became even faster and more powerful.
He had activated his traits: Battle Instinct and Blood Rage.
'…It's over.' In such a state, the orc was formidable.
Of course, they would win if they fought to the end.
The tingling energy of the orc reached the audience.
However, the spirit in the eyes of the fool never faded.
“No, don't do it! Dodge, Theo! Show your lineage's power!” Somehow, Aisha, who had taken a seat on the opposite side, was cheering for the fool.
'Wasn't she supposed to dislike the fool?' After the orc activated its trait, Theo focused solely on defense without launching a counterattack.
······He would allow minor attacks but avoid threatening ones.
'No way.' Is he still thinking of winning? “That's right, Theo! Just like that! No matter how strong the orc is, if you land a proper hit, you never know.
Let those attacks pass! Ah, I, I…Phew…” As Aisha sighed, Crack-! Theo's practice longsword broke in half.
It couldn't withstand the orc's attack and snapped.
Did Theo really get this far? He's a completely different person from the first semester.” Neike muttered beside her.
“···Lost.” “Hahaha! I knew I was right, Theo! You were born with a warrior's blood!” As the orc laughed loudly and extended its hand, the fool grasped it.
The fool's expression was as calm as ever.
However, Piel did not miss the emotion that briefly appeared on his face and then vanished.
“······.” That emotion was 'anger.' The most primal emotion needed for improvement in skill.
An emotion she had unknowingly forgotten after facing the huge mountain called Neike.
After the duel, as usual, I went to have dinner with Noctar.
However, “Going for dinner? I'll join you.
I tried the food in the student cafeteria, and it was delicious~.” Aisha naturally joined in.
Hmm, I remember her being a gourmet.
The cafeteria food isn't bad, but it's not on par with a restaurant.
“······.” “Ah, a new warrior is always welcome.
You're the one who uses a bow, right? Aisha was it? I remember because you're quite skilled.” “That's right.
You're Noctar Hermod, the leader of the orc students, right? I've been watching your sparring session with Theo from the beginning, and it was a valuable time for me to feel the soul of a strong warrior after a long time.” “Hahaha! The Ashen Desert Tribe warriors all possess strong souls! You're good at talking too! I thought you were a friend like Theo just by looking at your appearance.” “···What do you mean, 'a friend like Theo', Noctar?” After having a noisy dinner, unlike the usual quiet ones, I finished my strength training and returned to my room.
Amy, who was always with me, was gone.
Hmm, I thought she wouldn't understand after just one explanation.
But it feels somewhat empty without her here.
I changed into my robe and sat on the bed, reviewing my battle with Noctar.
Today, I had been defeated.
It was the result of someone with neither talent nor training.
The wall that was Noctar had been high.
After his trait had activated, there was nothing I could do but defend myself.
Moreover, Noctar had used a blunt weapon instead of his primary weapon, the axe.
Ralph Viole's blunt weapon skills, which I would face in the practical skill assessment, would surely be even more outstanding than Noctar's.
“Darn it.” I had certainly achieved some progress.
But it was frustrating.
Of course, if I had used the special effect 'Overload' from Natural Power, which increases stats for a certain period, I could have held on longer.
But I still wouldn't have won.
And using Overload would result in extreme muscle pain for a few days afterward, so I could only use it on Friday.
I want to become stronger.
I need to get stronger quickly.
…Come to think of it, I had earned some gold coins for the shop.
I immediately opened the shop window.
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