110. Tournament – Part 5

The seventh match… Hakurou vs Damrada

This one I’m interested in. As expected of Veldora’s tampering. I really can’t see the outcome for most of today’s matches. I predict that Hakurou will win, but will it really end up that way? And thus it began.

.

Fumu. With a sigh, Damrada began a light warm up. It’s been a long time since he last had a fight in which he had to go all out. Advancing to the middle of the arena, he stood facing Hakurou. Without rushing, composed. A man who cared for naught but money–Damrada. So the association spoke of him. In reality, he thought that it was natural for others to think that he cared only for money. He was the kind of person who would not hesitate to make money. He was fine with fraud and betrayal as means. After all, the one who was deceived was at fault; only someone who’s suicidal would act without guarantee. For Damrada, those whom he would betray were mere disposable pawns–a lesser life form he cared little for. Beings who have are completely worthless are those who cannot even predict that they will be betrayed. So he never cared what kind of fate awaited those whom he had betrayed. Hence the reason people said that Damrada always brought back dead man’s loot. But there’s a reason that Damarada is fo fixated with money. Expanding an organization costs a lot of money–you have to root yourself in various places in various countries all of which costs money. Which is why Damrada used various means to earn money. All for their great master, the true lord of the Cerberus–Kagurazaka Yuuki! The world “above” would be dominated by the Freedom Association. The underground would be taken over by Damrada’s group–Cerberus. Thus establishing complete dominion. They are also successfully corrupting the Eastern Empire, with “Strength” and “Lady” Cerberus bosses deployed there. They have been supplying weapons and have thus earned their trust. And at an opportune time, Damrada would be switched with the “Lady.” Gaining dominance over humanity was but a matter of time and they had long worked to incite the Western Saint’s Church to eliminate the monsters. Only Holy Empire Ruberion, for some unbeknownst reason, forbid intervention. However, surely that was within their great master’s expectations; all Damrada had to do was to follow. This time, he had received strange orders. Though perhaps what is strange is this country before him. Damrada was ordered to obtain Demon Lord Rimuru’s trust and be recognized as a trading partner. He was told about this Demon Lord’s preference, and the plan was proceeding smoothly with Damrada successfully infiltrating. Of course, the necessary information to get to this point was all manipulated by Kagurazaka Yuuki. Even as he admired his master’s ability, he was also confident in appearing as a merchant. After all, this country stank of money from the moment he entered it. So it doesn’t matter what he would be trading in; there was money to be made here. For Damrada, this was job that was far more interesting than trading with the Eastern Empire, so he could not afford to fail. Therefore, (Maybe going all out would be fun). So, he took a natural stance. And thus the match began.

.

In the center, glaring at each other stood Hakuro and Damrada. Both exhibited auras of masters, but Hakuro was is a Sword Saint. I think that, being unarmed, Damrada would be at a disadvantage, but I guess we’ll see. The moment the match began Damrada instantly closed distance. He started not a single moment too soon, but was moving at a speed that even a seasoned veteran would have hard time dodging. Only because my thoughts are accelerated could I see it. Hakurou, however, casually stepped back and swung down his sword… when did he draw it? For a second there, I though that his sword had cut off Damrada’s legs, but… Kiin! A high pitched sound rang out, and Damrada’s feet had repelled Hakuro’s blade. Though I thought Damrada merely preferred baggy clothing, it seems he is wearing armor underneath. So he isn’t a fool who’d fight him barehanded. Well, yeah, I get it. Each of Damrada’s kicks generate a vacuum blade aiming at Hakuro, who, of course, intercepts it calmly. Returning his sword to the sheathe, he began a series of special attacks using blink-step. Using <Blink Step> Hakuro can move 5 meters in any direction in an instant and quickly dispose of his enemy. Truly a divine skill–Mist blade (Kasumi-kiri). However, although he shouldn’t be able to see it, Damrada has been receiving Hakuro’s blade without fail. Although every strike should have easily been able to cut off his arm, Damrada remains without wound. He probably has armored his hands as well. But to be able to block Hakuro’s blade, truly wonderful gear he has. Surely it is at least on par with the Templar’s spirit armor. Currently, we are introducing the spirit armor to our market. It seems to be a relic of an ancient civilization that takes a lot of magic energy to make, but tends to surpass the performance of modern pieces. If you threw all of them in classes, you’d have: God Class, Legend, Unique, Rare, Special, and Normal. Spirit armor, even that sold in the common marketplace, would be of at least unique quality. Hinata’s spirit armor is of legendary class. But if hers was legendary, would a god class truly exist? Apparently, Veldora had seen it before. For example, the hero who sealed Veldora was deigned in one. “Seriously?!” I thought, but considering that Veldora said so, I have no reason to doubt him. According to him, when a considerable amount of energy accumulates in an armor, it can evolve. Now that I think about it, wasn’t Karion’s equipment also legendary class? Kurobee seemed very interested in it. At the moment, Kurobee can mostly make unique equipment. But if we use the best material, I guess we really could reach Legendary class. When this event is over, I’ll have him finally finish my blade (katana). I mean, the demon steel has probably been soaking up my energy for a long enough time. But that aside, Hakuro’s Blade is one of Kurobee’s earlier works and is of rare quality. But, in the hands of a sword saint, equipment rank doesn’t matter all that much. Though had it been unique, it probably would cut through the armor. So to repel all of those hits, Damrada’s “touki” must either invalidate physical attacks or he has darn good equipment. Or both. Well, I guess I should just appraise it to find out. Result: I could only discern that the black clothing he is wearing is unique class. To interfere with appraisal skill… his equipment is truly great. But, what a shame! I have a reliable buddy name Raphael.

《Solution. Individual: Damrada has an unnaturally high “touki.” Additionally, I have identified at least 17 pieces of equipment. Each of Unique Class.》

Is what he said. What a rich guy this Damrada is! To have enough money to purchase better equipment than the Templars. What a terrifying guy. The thing about spirit armor, is that lives as a single piece. It disperses and repairs using one’s magical energy. So it’s possible to instantly change the equipment used. Amazing right… the power of money. This got me thinking, and when I look at Kurobee, he looks like he has something to say. We nod at each other. We have our next goal in mind. Lots of armor and weapon plans to draw. And even if we fail, we still go the dungeon money-making machine. Oh, this has gotten fun!

Well, I have gone on a tangent. Doesn’t matter (it does for me!)… I guess it’s rude to Hakurou and Kurobee. Quality of equipment aside, the fact that Hakurou has been pressed this far just proves how much of a master Damrada is. Perhaps a set of invisible nail-blades adorned Damrada’s hands or something, because a set of vacuum blades suddenly assaulted Hakuro. And it’s certainly difficult to dodge what you can’t see. But, Hakurou lightly side-stepped what would have been a fatal wound. As expected. Hakuro’s sent a Dimensional Decapitation attack at Damrada, who blocked it by distorting space. Here, the climax of the battle. If Hakuro is a sword saint, then Damrada is a fist saint. Frankly, both are way stronger than the Templars. Even compared with Arnaud – sorry Arnaud – Damrada is stronger. And that has nothing to do with equipment; their skill is in a different dimension. There’s no point to use equipment you can’t fully utilize; Damrada fully utilizes his. That means that Damrada is not just some upstart loan shark. Speaking of that, I can’t believe a human could fight this well. And they have already exceeded the allotted 30 minutes. Frankly, none of us had fought Hakuro for 30 minutes in an all out battle. Considering that Hakuro has the unique skill『Martial Artist』, Damrada must also possess some kind of unique skill. But since he doesn’t show it, I can’t analyze it. Could it be an internal skill? It would be strange for him to have been fighting on pure skill alone. Or could it be an effect of his unique equipment? It’s a shame I’m not fighting him; can’t gather as much information this way. But, even if Damrada is a true master, humanity has its limit. Even if he had been supported with some item, this long of a battle surely has taken its toll. It’s amazing he could hold his own against Hakuro for 30 minutes straight. In the end, Damrada let his guard down for a moment, and Hakuro had already pressed his sword against his neck. Truly a wonderful battle. Veldora was so impressed he stood nodding. Seems like he has gotten interested in humanity’s martial arts. He would pester me about it later, but that’s a story for another day.

Thus, the 7th match ended in Hakurou’s victory. But, I was able to see Damrada go all out. I guess I will recognize him as a trading partner. Well, I am not the kind of fool who would trust someone from the underworld, but I will use him. He has fought well, and I did not limit the offer to only if he had won. But, trading? What should I have him do, what can I trade with him? I’ll have to think about that. While I was thinking this, the next match was about to start.

* * *

The 8th Match, Shion vs. Gerudo

Now then, the last match of the day. Shion and Gerudo. Gerudo, a down-to-earth individual, is normally the head of the engineering corp, but is also the center of our defenses. Well, Tempest doesn’t really have set roles for people, so work gets done by whoever is free. That too is something I plan to change based upon this event’s results. But, for the time being, I wonder who is stronger–Shion or Gerudo? Gerudo’s is a stable, skill of a guardian. Shion’s, on the other hand, is unstable–swayed by her emotions. So is my earlier evaluation of her. Shion who would rampage if circumstances so dictated. But here…

“Begin!”

On Souka’s command, Shion calmly drew her oodachi and took a center stance aiming at his eyes. Her face was calm, her emotions tranquil. In fact, she released an imposing aura quite reminiscent of that of Hakuro. A beautiful stance as if she had become one with the blade itself. Beholding her figure, Gerudo armed himself with the Castle Crusher hammer in his right hand, and the humongous Castle Shield in his left. Befitting his position as the center of our defense, his entire body is clad in “Hebiyama” armor, and with his unique skill『Guardian』it would prove difficult to as much as scratch him. Shion altered her raised her blade above her, as so to swing it down with ungodly speed. As if possessed by Hakuro himself, her movements are fluid without a single wasted moment. “Wha.. seriously?!” I think, staring at her. And not just me–Benimaru and Souei, too, stare at her with wonder on their faces. That Shion, although her speech and conduct is still rather haphazard and she is prone to radical decisions, she has become rather sensible lately. Right, after she had made peace with the Templars. I thought I felt as if a weight was lifted from her, but perhaps she really did experience some kind of change as a result. She is no longer as arrogant nor looks down on humans. Actually, even when she says something foolish, rather than coming from her heart, it’s as if she was kidding. Just like Benimaru, she no longer rampages and has attained a state of tranquility. Shion has grown; perhaps she just become more accepting. The current Shion does not depend on fighting with raw power alone, but as Hakuro had taught, she displays the beautiful devotion to swordsmanship. In other words, actual skill has been added to her capricious nature. As a result…

Shion brought down her odachi sending a shockwave at Gerudo. Of course, something of this level created no more than a smokescreen. But Shion did not waste that opportunity and fluidly slashed again. Gerudo stopped her slash with his shield, but the great odachi, with the awesome power behind it, shattered it. “No way!” Benimaru muttered. Of course, I completely understand. Even Souei appeared surprised. There’s nothing trivial about this: Shion’s proficiency has gone way up. The current attack carried a『Cook』’s effect. The effect was to change『The Slash has been stopped by the Shield』into『The Shield could not stop the slash, allowing to cut through it like butter』. However, Gerudo’s『Guardian』skill interfered. Even though it interfered, the shield still shattered. In other words, her mind surpassed his. Meaning this was her victory.

In the end, as I had predicted, 30 minutes of fierce fighting resulted in Shion’s victory. Gerudo did struggle with all his might, showing us his resolve; but not once did he touch Shion. His equipment destroyed, Gerudo pronounced his defeat, ending the match. Shion’s growth is truly stunning.

I was sure this would be a close fight, but Shion had completely dominated in the eight round. Considering how amazing her growth was in this short while, I guess I should praise her for it. Thus, the second day has come to an end, and 8 names remain.

The third day,

Round 9: Benimaru vs. Souei
Round 10: Gobuta vs. Ranga
Round 11: Beretta vs. Diablo
Round 12: Hakuro vs. Shion

Is what it comes down to. And at this point, I can’t really predict the ending. They are all evenly matched, all are wonderful in their own way. So how will this end? Would we have an unexpected winner, Gobuta?.. My, I can’t wait to see how it all ends!

107 thoughts on “110. Tournament – Part 5

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