Volume 3 (Imperial Tournament Edition)
Chapter 1: The Strongest Onmyoji Is Summoned
It has already been a year since we entered the Magic Academy.
In the auditorium lit by magic lights, a large number of new students were chatting and laughing amongst themselves.
Perhaps it was because of the commotion at that time, or perhaps it was just a coincidence, but the number of people at the entrance ceremony, which I had not seen since last spring, seemed a little small.
Since then, there have been no attacks by the demon tribe, and life at the school has been peaceful.
Thanks to Ifa’s study sessions, Amiyu, whose grades in written tests had been gradually declining, succeeded in correcting her trajectory, and we all advanced to the second grade together.
So, today is the entrance ceremony.
I am here as a student this year.
Amiyu, Ifa, and I were all allowed to attend the ceremony as students with outstanding grades in the second grade of the elementary school.
“Amiyu-chan, this is delicious.”
“Really? I’ll take one.”
They both look relaxed and are enjoying the ceremony.
They must have been nervous last year, and there was a demon attack halfway through. They probably didn’t even have time to fully enjoy the food.
I’ve been watching everything with shikigami all over the academy, but as expected, there are no signs of assassins this year.
I’m glad that everything is going to end without a hitch.
The program was already over, and the ceremony was scheduled to end once the time for chatting was over.
As for me, I was already full and wanted to go home, but…
Suddenly, a voice called out from behind me.
I turned around.
There stood an old man like a cypress.
He has a tall, bony body with a broad face. His hair is all white, but only his straight back shows no signs of aging.
I blink my eyes. I only see him at these events, but he is the vice principal of this academy.
I had thought he had left the ceremony since he was out of sight after his speech at the beginning of the ceremony, but…
Before I could say anything, the vice-principal looked down at me with emotionless eyes and opened his mouth.
“Tomorrow evening, please come to the headmaster’s office with Ifa-kun.”
After saying that, he turned his back and left.
I frown. What?
Amiyu, who has a plate in her hand, calls out to me suspiciously.
“It sounds like a call. Probably from the headmaster.”
“Hmm…? Come to think of it, I’ve never seen the headmaster before.”
It is the same for me.
The deputy principal is in charge of all the greetings at the academy as well as at these ceremonies. I did not see the headmaster at this year’s or last year’s entrance ceremony.
I thought it was just a name placed there by an official of the Imperial City, but perhaps it is not?
“But it’s not a calm summons. Is it an expulsion recommendation?”
“Don’t say things that aren’t auspicious like tomorrow’s weather. I mean, Ifa is with you.”
Jokes aside, what is it?
I don’t have any particular idea, but …….
Somehow, I had a strange hunch.
The evening of the next day.
After the class was over, I and Ifa, who looked nervous, were in front of the headmaster’s office on the top floor of the main building
I enter the room with a knock.
A luxurious, calmly decorated room.
Two people were waiting there.
One is the vice-principal who stands like a cypress tree.
And the other is an elderly man.
He has gills on his face and a hooked nose. He had the appearance of a witch…but what was most striking was his diminutive physique, which was evident even while sitting in his chair in front of his opulent work desk.
He was probably smaller than anyone else in the school.
Next to me, I felt Ifa gasp for air.
“I’m glad you’re here. Lamprogs’.”
The old man said with a hoarse voice that befitted his appearance.
His eyes scrutinized.
“This is surprising. I expected to see a talent-obsessed brat, but you look surprisingly accomplished.”
“……Thanks for that. I was surprised too. I didn’t expect the head of the Imperial Academy of Magic to be a demi-human”.
I only know it from books, but I’m sure of it.
He is small and diminutive for a human. The headmaster was born of a race called dwarf dwarves.
The petite old man twists his mouth.
“I don’t like that name. We are not the second race after humans. We should be called demons.”
It is true that dwarf dwarves are technically a demon tribe as well.
But they are not hostile to humans.
In past wars, some races that had originally been friendly to humans, such as dwarf dwarves and woodland elves, broke away from the confederacy of demon tribes and formed new communities, declaring themselves neutral.
Although there were some conflicts in the beginning, they are now a valuable presence that interacts with both human and demon tribes. Their territory is located between demon territory and imperial territory, which also serves as a buffer zone to prevent military conflicts.
To distinguish them from the hostile demon tribe, the people of the empire called them demi-humans.
Well, since it means something like a race equivalent to humans, it is certainly a derogatory term.
“I am so impressed by your attitude in front of me that I think you are both arrogant and confident. Hmm, only your bloodline can do that.”
“…? Did you know my father?”
“No. I’m talking about your uncle.”
Huh. I never heard that my father had a male sibling in this life.
From the way he talks, it sounds like he was a student at this academy. …… Did he die young or something?
The headmaster exhaled and continued.
“Well, that’s not important. Let’s get down to business. You, me, and that slave girl over there, we all want to get this over with as soon as possible, don’t we?
With a sideways glance, I looked at Ifa, who was frozen with tension.
Unless it is a big city or a town where adventurers gather, it is rare to see demi-humans. If you saw them for the first time, you would probably react like this.
Maybe the reason why the headmaster doesn’t show himself publicly very often is to avoid any unnecessary trouble.
“So, what is the main subject?”
“Have you ever been to the Imperial City, Lamprog?”
“Then you wouldn’t know, but every spring in the imperial capital, a swordsmanship tournament sponsored by the imperial court is held.”
The headmaster continues his explanation.
“The current emperor of Urdhwaite is also a spectator at this so-called imperial tournament. The winner receives a huge prize money and is allowed to join the Kingsguard. It is the largest sword tournament in the country, attracting the best fighters from all over the empire to show off their skills.”
I’d never heard of it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was something like that.
The headmaster pauses for a moment and says.
“I want you two to participate in this tournament.”
“… Eh, me too?”
Perhaps out of surprise, Ifa raised her voice for the first time since coming here.
I frowned involuntarily.
“What do you mean? We can’t use swords.”
“The rules have changed this year.”
It was the vice-principal standing beside me who answered in a low voice.
“The rules have changed?”
“The use of magic is now permitted.”
The headmaster said to me, who was silent, again.
“It’s all about strength. I guess this country has finally realized the loss of talent like magical swordsmen. Therefore, this year’s martial arts competition was not limited to swordsmanship, but included everything. Not only magic swordsmen, but also monks clad in light-attribute support magic buffs, puppeteers who use earth-attribute golems, and fire- and wind-attribute rear guards can freely compete. As one might expect, however, trainer-tamers and summoners who use monsters are not eligible.”
“The rules are going to cause a lot of deaths.”
Magic has no peaks and bounds.
Usually, if you get hit, you don’t just get away with it.
“Originally there were some out there. But well, I guess we’ll do something about that. Going back to the topic, our academy was given a quota to participate in the competition when the magic ban was lifted. We are exempted from the qualifying rounds, and we are allowed to compete in the main competition. This is for two people.”
“And you’re saying that me and Ifa were chosen?”
“No…… someone else has already been chosen.”
At that moment, there was a knock on the door of the room.
When I turned around, I saw a person walking in from behind the open door.
It was a petite girl.
Her hair is almost rust-colored rather than red, and her eyes are sky-blue. She has a mature appearance, but even in this situation, she does not seem intimidated and remains calm with an emotionless expression on her face.
The headmaster raises his voice with a smile.
“Oh, you’re here, Mabel. Come, greet your senpais..”
The girl gives me and Ifa a glance, and then, without expression, she blithely utters her name.
“She is the daughter of Baron Crane. She’s an adopted child.”
I had only heard of Baron Crane’s family by name, but I had never heard of his daughter being at the academy. In the first place, I had never seen this girl in the academy.
Wait, did you just call us senpais?
“No way… are you a new student?”
“Yes. Didn’t you see us at the entrance ceremony?”
After a moment of silence, I speak my question directly.
“I don’t understand. Isn’t this something you usually pick from upperclassmen to begin with?”
“Students in the higher academy are busy with their own research. Besides, this academy is not a place to learn combat techniques. Even if we teach attack magic, it is mainly theory. Not many students are suited for martial arts competitions.”
“Why do you think we’re good at it?”
“Have you forgotten that last year you yourself survived an underground dungeon in the Rodnean Forest? In addition…… you also defeated a high level Elder Newt in your territory about a year and a half ago.”
“I at least look into the past of outstanding students. In fact, both of you have done very well in your practicals.”
“Oh, um, that was mostly Seika’s work, I didn’t …… do anything at all.”
The school principal turned a smile on Ifa who said it in a hurry.
“Of course I know that, but I also think you are powerful enough. Maybe not as powerful as him.”
“…and is that the same for her?”
I look at Mabel and say.
The headmaster nodded with a smile on his face.
“Oh, Mabel is strong.”
“What on earth do you know about a student who just got in yesterday?”
“I told you, I at least look into the student’s past. She got good grades in the entrance exam.”
“How much of a feat is it to have been unofficially selected for a slot before you even entered school?”
What came back from the headmaster was a smile and silence.
I glanced at Mabel, but …… she just stood there with a blank expression on her face, as if she didn’t care about our conversation.
I sigh and say.
“I still don’t understand. What I don’t understand more than anything is —- why wasn’t Amiyu invited to this meeting?”
The quality of the air filling the room seemed a little different.
“She passed the entrance exam at the top of the class. She got a perfect score when it came to the practical exam, and her grades have been high ever since she entered the academy. In addition, last year, she defeated the Lesser Demon that attacked us and the boss monster in the underground dungeon. She was an adventurer before entering the school and has ample combat experience. Even among the upperclassmen, I can’t think of anyone more suitable than Amiyu.”
And she’s a hero.
Even if one does not know the circumstances, it is impossible not to understand her strength.
After a brief silence, the headmaster opens his mouth.
“Even with that in mind… I decided that you were the better choice. That’s all.”
“What’s the reason?”
“Well, I don’t know. If I had to say more, it would be intuition. The intuition of an elder is not so easy to fool with.”
It’s pretty subtle to me as well.
The headmaster continues.
“So, what are you going to do? Are you going to accept, or will you both decline?”
“… What will happen if I decline?”
“We just won’t use one of the slots then. There will be one more entrant in the main draw from the qualifiers for that slot.”
Ifa glances at me.
What are you going to do, Seika-kun? She had eyes that asked such.
I have a feeling something is going on. At least some of the explanations are definitely false and all sorts of strange.
I’m curious about their intentions. But there’s no need to bother getting into it. ……
“… the story isn’t over yet.”
Her voice sounded like a mixture of dissatisfaction and indifference.
I turned my head and for the first time, I looked Mabel squarely in the eyes.
Before long, I return my face and say with a sigh
“I will participate”
“Oh, are you sure? I thought you would definitely refuse.”
I nodded silently to the academy headmaster who said that happily.
Ifa, too, looked a little surprised.
There was only one reason why I decided to participate.
The atmosphere of the girl Mabel was a bit similar to that of me when I was a student of —- my master and killing with my brothers and demons
Well, It’s not decent.
So I wanted to see it through for a bit.
A martial arts tournament where magic has been permitted.
I would like to see how the various speculations surrounding it all will unfold.