Chapter 18 – Arena
Apparently, the house of Din has a considerably bad reputation among nobles.
This is because the house of Din’s origin can be traced back to be people who would be considered ordinary.
It was said that a volunteer soldier was the one who had built up the Din household during the war against the empire several hundred years ago.
After the feudal lord escaped, he remained in the territory and endured the waves of attacks up until the ceasefire.
As a result, the King evaluated it as follows;
『He’s a courageous person who has pushed back the enemy』。
Thus, the former feudal lord who returned was then thrust aside and he begun to reign over the territory as a noble.
However, there was also considerable opposition to this.
And, when the head of the family dies, the following generation will be the target of the current state of affair as well.
The territory that was governed by Din household is small and the connections with the surrounding areas is also weak.
Hence, when the neighbouring area’s influence grew stronger, the influence of Din household became steadily weak too.
Several years later, the head of Din household was then married to the head of Jirgens household, who was similarly disliked by the nobles around.
Seen as ‘fallen’ nobles, their reputation never improved and were seen as detestable among the nobles.
That was why, upon stepping into the arena, the shrill cheers from the crowd were all directed at Durf even though Walkins, Shadiverga and I were there among the audience as well.
「Do your best, Durf-dono! 」
「My son-in-law is indebted to the majestic Horgos household too. 」
「Such puny nobles. What are they planning! This will be over in no time. 」
A group of overweight fat nobles were having dull conversations among themselves.
Is this a breeding ground for gluttonous pigs?
These are typical fools who are devoured by greed and the pursuit of power and money.
Words of encouragements were thrown around from different households in the arena.
I could hear the whisperings among them too.
However, they were generally things that did not sound pleasant.
「…….Fallen nobles should just submit obediently. 」
「What happened to the head of the family, Shadiverga? I guess he wasn’t allowed to board the railway carriage? 」
「It’s those lot of people who usually do indecent things. Retribution might have befallen them. 」
*tsk tsk* All the scorn received were painful to the ears.
It was amazing that they could express it openly before the person himself.
Shediverga appeared to have shut his eyes in an attempt to ignore the remarks but, he might be feeling dejected deep inside his heart.
It must be tough staying in a place like this when you are detested by the people.
「…..I’m hated, aren’t I? 」 (Shadiverga)
「That’s just what I want. Being hated this much actually makes it easier to work on our plan after this. 」 (Regis)
「P-Please, please don’t stimulate it even more. Please Regis.」 (Shadiverga)
You’re seriously too timid.
His trauma might have been revived the moment he stood in the presence of the crowd.
In order to reassure him, I gave him a big nod.
「Of course. Have I ever done something that would cause any inconvenience to father? 」 (Regis)
「Who was the one who had unleashed a string of profanities at Durf!? 」 (Shadiverga)
「By the way, this arena is pretty wide isn’t it? 」 (Regis)
I’ll just let that inconvenient thing slide by.
This skill is quite important in one’s life.
The duel will start in a while.
Once both contenders of the duel have assembled, we are required to do down to the arena.
But, first of all, the observer despatched by the King would be giving the greetings.
We can take our time to relax until then.
「This is a case of an emergency. It seems that they were utilizing a platoon’s training too. 」
「Hmm, I guess they wanted to make full use of the ring’s extensive area as one of their strategies. 」
Just as I was having various thoughts swirling in my head, I could hear someone approaching us, giving us words of encouragement.
Apparently that pig seemed to be practising the sankin-kotai 1system.
He drew closer to his own opponent in the duel, with a look as if he wanted to break someone apart.
Durf appeared to be in a really good mood with greed written all over his faces.
He looked at Shadiverga after he came over to us.
「Well, well, isn’t this Shadiverga-dono. I’ll have the honour of training with you today. 」 (Durf)
「Ee, same here. 」 (Shadiverga)
「So you were able to avoid only the renunciation of the duel but, I guess you couldn’t come forth due to your injury?…..Kuku, pardon my rudeness. It was so admirable that I’m on the verge of tears. 」 (Durf)
「Eh? So you knew that father is injured? 」 (Regis)
Durf’s mouth twitched when I said it nonchalantly.
That thoughtless remark was made with ease.
He broke out in a cold sweat and tried to ignore the question.
「Hmph, I just had the feeling that Shadiverga-dono’s body is on the verge of breaking down. This might be the will of the Heavens. 」 (Durf)
「Walkins, it’s scary. This guy has the ability to converse with the Heavens. 」 (Regis)
「Shii–, there might be a religion like this, you know.」 (Walkins)
I could see blue veins popping out on Durf’s head the moment I said that.
Well, there was no need for you to be so high-strung.
Isn’t this simply a joke from a kid?
Then just overlook it.
Durf clicked his tongue on seeing my unchanging demeanour.
「Tch, I’ll distort that side of yours before long. Today will be the last day you’ll be spoiled by Walkins-dono. I will obtain her and she will settle into my household after this. 」 (Durf)
「Is your head alright? It’ll only lead to your downfall if you were to believe in an impossible future. Well, from the start, I didn’t think that brain of yours can think of the future with a calm state of mind anyway. 」 (Regis)
「…..Y-You s-son of a bitch-!」 (Durf)
Durf clenched his fist.
He was almost at his boiling point.
He wouldn’t be able to keep up his act of diplomacy in that state of anger.
After all, he is someone who reigns over people ever since he was born so, I don’t think he has ever been spoken ill of directly.
Try looking at me instead. Especially what I’ve gone through in my first life.
I have received nothing but jeerings from people ever since I was born.
How many times do you think I have been taken into the police’s custody now?
Return me my youth, the eternity that I’ve lost, damn head patrol officer!
Clenching his teeth, Durf tried to vent his anger out.
This is amusing.
The moment he boiled over with anger in public, I could already assess that diplomatic power of his.
He’s the type whose insides collapse easily.
「Eeh, sorry to have kept you waiting for a long time. Since the observer has arrived, we can finally commence the duel.」
The voice which was enhanced through magic reverberated through the arena.
In response to this announcement, Durf prepared himself to return to his own place.
「Remember this, damn kid. 」 (Durf)
「Remember how you were making a fool of yourself? Sorry but no thanks. It feels repulsive to preserve the memory of a worthless human. 」 (Regis)
「…..Gu, gu, gununu. 」 (Durf)
Durf’s face turned red with rage as he looked at me.
However, his attendant was somehow able to get him to return to his place after calling him.
I guess his place was the opposite side of here.
The observer went up the arena ring and explained the outline of the duel.
The observer is a young woman with long blonde hair that’s tied up together reaching her waist.
She should be an important individual in the kingdom but, I had never expected it to be such a pretty lady.
The woman then began her explanation in a crystal-clear voice.
「This will be a duel between the house of Horgos and the house of Din. As a general rule, the duel will go on until either party surrenders or is killed. Contenders, please prepare yourself. 」
Oops, it’s almost time now.
On the other side, Durf could be seen exchanging glances with a silhouette resembling a human hiding behind the pillar.
That person appeared to be carrying odachi in both of his hands.
As I thought.
So, the other person couldn’t make his appearance after I nearly burnt him to death and struck him with a lightning attack?
This person has not only engraved fear in Edgar but he had escaped unscathed during our last fight.
Will he be the Din household’s opponent?
He was keeping his gaze concentrated on Shadiverga here as well.
Although, he is silent, drops of sweat could be seen trickling down his cheek. He’s probably feeling tense.
「We will now be announcing the contenders of the duel. From the house of Horgos—-Stalin. From the house of Din—–the head of the household, which in this case, the contender should be Shadiverga-sama. 」
At that moment, all the sights fell upon Shadiverga.
「So he’s coming forth? 」 「No way」 A clamour arose in the arena.
Was this an unexpected development for Durf as well? Cold sweat appeared to be running down his forehead.
But, that was not the expression that I was looking for from him.
What I wanted was even more than that. A lifeless pig who had his soul forcefully extracted from him—that was the look that I hoping to see.
「Well then, could both houses let us know your aspirations. First of all, the house of Horgos.」
After saying so, the staff of the arena approached us.
So Durf will be the first?
Coming from him, it must be nothing more than just sarcastic remarks directed at us anyway.
「Aa–, the house of Horgos will claim victory in the name of justice. I would like to express my gratitude to everyone here for coming to see this duel. Well, even though it might be good for me to step out personally in this duel, seeing that they are opposing contenders after all but, they are still peasants at the end of the day. Getting too close to those existence would just defile ourselves—」 (Durf)
The arena resounded with laughter.
The only ones not showing any reaction to this were only us and the observer.
Apparently most of the people here have a pretty shallow sense of humour.
Any comedians would be delighted to have a crowd of audience like this.
「—–As the head of the household who is entrusted with the west side of the Kingdom, I promise you all that I will deliver an overwhelming and swift victory. 」 (Durf)
He concluded his speech.
At that moment, the arena burst into spontaneous applause.
Durf raised his hand high above his head in response to the cheering reared.
I had just personally experienced how a dictator came to be.
The insects had swarmed around the abundance of power.
Are you all that desperate for his scraps?
There is nothing more pathetic than this.
「Eeh, thank you very much. Then next, the head of Din household please. 」
Thereupon, the staff held the crystal close to Shadiverga’s mouth.
Is that something like a microphone?
I wonder if that was what used to amplify the voice using magic.
When I exchanged looks with Shadiverga, he gave a nod as if he has given up on it.
Walkins appeared to have given me the green light too.
Alright, then should I go ahead now?
I snatched the crystal from him and spoke out loud.
「Eeh, since father has physically fell apart, I will be the one to speak on behalf of him. I’m Regis, the son of Shadiverga who is the current head of the house of Din. 」 (Regis)
The arena was astir with murmurings of the audience.
There would be no one who could have possibly predicted my appearance here.
I could hear the voices of those expressing their doubts.
「Who’s that kid? 」
「I’ve never seen him before. Could he be the heir to the house of Din? 」
「Since their territory is close by, I’ve heard of him before. He’s a strange child who has a precocious talent for almost everything. 」
「Don’t make me laugh. What could a child of that age accomplish? 」
There was a warm round of applause at my speech as well.
I should definitely give a proper response to this.
Clearing my throat, I cut to the chase.
「This is a good time as any since most of the distinguished families and guests from the Kingdom are present now. This is an important announcement relating to the house of Din. 」 (Regis)
「….Important announcement? 」
The staff who was carrying the crystal tilted his head in wonder.
That’s a good reaction.
That was surely a reaction that was given as result of his inability to digest my words.
I would like those nobles to listen well to this too.
「Actually, my father possessed a collection of books that are unethical. The contents of those books are really impressive in a way, or should I say filthy beyond words…..」 (Regis)
「O-Oi–!! That’s totally unrelated isn’t it!? 」 (Shadiverga)
Shadiverga who had kept silent all this while suddenly snapped at me.
However the sharp pain that ran through his body instantly silenced him, making him docile again.
That is certainly a deadly poison. It doesn’t seem to be easily rid of.
「I’m already fed up with father’s debauchery. As a result, after going through an emergency meeting—–we finally came to a conclusion. I, Regis will inherit all the rights and authority to Din household for one day. Well in short, father will have to retire from his position for one day. 」 (Regis)
Commotion broke out everywhere.
As I expected, they finally understood what I meant.
But, their realization came too late.
My strategy was already well underway the moment I wasn’t thrown out of the arena.
「We hereby declare that, the head of the house of Din today will be me, Regis. —-Therefore, I will be the one participating as the contender in this duel. 」 (Regis)
I hadn’t missed the moment when Durf fell of his chair on the other side when I said that.
The announcement was immediately followed by an intense booing from the audience.
However, I raised my voice and shouted out loud to suppress the uproar.
「You guys are noisy! This is something concerning my household! Do you have any problems with the decision made by my family, hah?! 」 (Regis)
All the jeerings instantly subsided.
They were just angry voices of those who didn’t even give a damn to the duel.
I could also call this a misplaced anger of a bunch of hooligans.
As I thought, this is how a clamour should be.
「That’s why, observer-san, the contender from the house of Din would be me. Will you acknowledge it? 」 (Regis)
「…….If that’s the case then, I’ll approve of it. Based on Article 4 in the dueling rule which pertains to any additional minor points that determine the dueling method, we have guaranteed that anyone is allowed to participate as long as they comply with the conditions. So there is no problem.」 (observer)
In response to those words, I wore the knife engraved with the crest of Din by strapping it to my waist.
I’m ready for battle.
Although there were people who were still expressing their dissatisfaction, it no longer has anything to do with me.
The observer’s decision is absolute in this place. I was just abiding by the rules.
「Kill him! Stalin, I want you to kill that brat! 」 (Durf)
Durf was getting excited.
That was quite a fast recovery. He was just dumbfounded a while ago.
It appeared to have hit him that this would be his chance to get rid of me.
He was literally grinning from ear to ear.
「Then I’ll be going off. 」 (Regis)
「Please be careful. 」 (Walkins)
「Aa. 」 (Regis)
Shadiverga still appeared to be depressed when I faced behind.
Was the reason given for his one day retirement too much for him to bear?
He needn’t pay it any mind actually.
Even in my previous life, my own relatives had exposed my treasured books before.
I was seen as ‘filth’. In their eyes, I must have looked like nothing more than a cockroach to them.
So don’t cry if it’s just at this degree.
On seeing my face, Shadiverga heaved a deep sigh and laughed.
「Regis, take care alright. Don’t be reckless. 」 (Shadiverga)
「I got it. 」 (Regis)
「……You are truly my pride, son. 」 (Shadiverga)
「You’re a father that I can be proud of. 」 (Regis)
Those words were truly from my heart.
I should go quickly now since the staff was urging me.
Was it because the enemy is a skilled assassin? As an opponent, he seemed to possess a much higher status.
But well, it should be fine.
I have a feeling that I will not lose to anyone now.
I don’t plan on losing after staking it in that fight against Walkins.
Passing through a luxurious gate, I entered the ring.
I have fully replenished my magic so I’ll be able to go all out to my heart’s content.
A masked man equipped with an ominous looking odachi came forth from the other side.
We stood face to face with the observer in between us.
「Yo, I’m your opponent. 」 (Regis)
「…..It’s laughable. Even that mercenary, couldn’t win. Can you even, compete then?」 (Stalin)
「It’s the opposite. Edgar is stronger than me. In other words, if I can beat you then that would mean that she’s far stronger than you. 」
「….foolish. 」 (Stalin)
After saying so, Stalin shut his mouth and fell silent.
He swayed his sword dauntingly in exchange.
What he was doing might be no more than a bluff.
Nevertheless, I have yet to go through such a training. The ability to display a trick of that degree which would make the opponent falter.
「Then, both party, please take your stance…… Here we go. 3. 2. 1—–」 (observer)
The observer begun the countdown calmly.
I took in a deep breath.
And, her face closed in to the crystal in an instant, declaring the start of the decisive duel.
1. Also called Japan’s Alternate Attendance System. More about it here