The new week has begun, and along with it the tournament proper.
Apparently Nee-san has to go into the arena first. So I am alone in looking for the special seating, ticket in hand.
This fancy and gold-leafed ticket truly does shout ‘special seat.’ Upon following the directions on its back, I find myself in front of an extremely extravagant door. Unlike normal seats, this place alone is mysteriously isolated.
I’m thinking ‘nah it’s probably not here, right?’ while showing the ticket to the staff standing before the door, but turns out it really is here.
I am guided into the room with extreme courtesy. But the instant I step inside, I want to leave.
This place is no ‘special’ seating. This is the VVIP seating.
It’s filled with some ridiculously high ranked nobles and their families. Almost the entirety of the Academy’s top caste are gathered. Over there is the daughter of the current leader of the Magic Swordsman Knight Order, and that ikemen over there is the second son of a Duke’s family. Oh wow, I actually recognize a few of them from Royal Capital Bushin Style Group 1’s class.
After taking the seat that I am guided to, I realize that I am right next to royalty.
“Ara, who might you be?”
Red eyes and hair the color of flames. She is none other than Alexia’s older sister, Princess Iris Midgar.
“I am Sid Kagenou. It appears that there’s been some mistake with the seating arrangements. Please pardon me.”
I clinch an elegant about face and attempt an escape.
“Ara, so you are Claire-san’s younger brother. Which would mean that Claire-san had given you the ticket.”
“…… You know of my sister?”
My escape attempt has fallen flat. There’s no way I can pretend to not hear when a member of royalty talks to me. With the sole exception of Alexia, of course.
“Indeed. The incident where my younger sister was kidnapped was what triggered our relationship. Claire-san plans to join the Crimson Order after her graduation. Please, take your seat.”
“There’s no mistake with the seating arrangement. Kindly take your seat.”
“…… By your leave.”
How can I refuse Princess Iris’ honest smile? If it was Alexia’s pure evil smile then I could have easily just flicked my middle finger and turned right around though.
“I’ve heard much about Sid-san from Claire-san. I’m quite envious at how close the two of you are.”
“Uh, I don’t think we’re actually that close, really.”
“Speaking of which, Sid-san has been getting along well with Alexia too, haven’t you?”
“Rather than ‘getting along well,’ we’re…… our relationship is more like one picking up the gold coins that the other throws, I guess.”
“Throwing gold coins?”
“Like throwing a bone for a dog to retrieve.”
“Oh, so you two have been playing together with a dog? Thank you for playing together with Alexia.”
“Eh, not really ‘with’ a dog, I’m the dog…… ah never mind. Oh, right, the gold coins originate from the royal family, so I’m the one who’s actually been taken care of.”
Princess Iris appears to be smiling from the bottom of her heart while listening to me.
“Alexia and Sid-kun truly are getting along well, I’m so glad.”
“No, no, that’s not really true, at all.”
“Alexia was originally supposed to come today also, but she suddenly said that she had something else to do……”
“Haha, is that so.”
“I’ll apologize on her behalf, is that alright?”
“No, no, no, please pay it no mind. Really.”
And that’s pretty much how our conversation is going as I continue sipping on the complimentary drinks.
“Which participants are Iris-sama paying attention to this year?”
So asks the daughter of the current leader of the Magic Swordsman Knight Order.
“Ah, I wish to know too.”
The ducal family’s second son ikemen joins in.
Apparently they got to know Princess Iris personally through Royal Capital Bushin Style.
“I’m looking at all the participants who made their way to the tournament proper, but if I really have to mention one……”
Princess Iris places a hand on her cheek while choosing her words.
“The former member of the ‘Seven Swords of Begalta’ Annerose-san, I suppose. I am familiar with many of the faces participating in this year’s tournament, but it’s her first time in this one. I saw her final match in the prelims, and she truly is strong. Once she wins her first round, she’ll be facing off against me, so I’m looking forward to it quite a bit……”
There is great confidence in her smile.
“I also saw her match. She really is strong, much stronger than I myself currently am……” (girl mob)
“I saw it too. But of course, the victor will be Iris-sama for sure. After that incident, the support behind Royal Capital Bushin Style has lagged quite considerably, so when Iris-sama clinches the championship here……” (guy mob)
“Wait a moment, don’t pressure Iris-sama, and don’t push it all onto her shoulders!” (girl mob)
“No, that was not my intention, I was merely……” (guy mob)
The two begin quarrelling, but Iris’ voice interrupts them.
“Calm down, both of you. It’s fine, from the very start I’ve intended to win. Royal Capital Bushin Style, this country, and many other things, I’ve resolved to shoulder them all.”
“Iris-sama……” (girl mob)
“As expected of Iris-sama.” (guy mob)
I’m a bit sorry about it now that the atmosphere’s turned kind of serious, but I want to join in on the conversation too.
“Umm, is there any other participant that has caught your eye……?”
I cut in just like that, pretending to not read the atmosphere.
“Speaking of which, who are you?”
“Why do I feel like I’ve seen you somewhere…… Oh right, you’re the kouhai who previously came to Group 1.”
“Ohh, so you are Claire-sama’s……”
“He is Sid Kagenou. Claire-san’s younger brother.”
Princess Iris’ introduction evokes looks of understanding on both their faces.
“Unlike Claire-san, you have no talent, right? But don’t worry about it, steady effort will get you far.”
“Your sword didn’t look particularly remarkable. There’s no much meaning in looking upwards, the most important thing is steady and earnest effort.”
Wow, I’m so thankful for the precious advice from the two senpai.
“Thank you. And so, is there any other participant that Iris-sama is paying attention to?”
“H-, how about the opponent of Annerose-sama in the first match, that Jimina Sehnen? H-, he’s also participating for the first time.”
I attempt to survey the general reaction to Jimina in a completely natural manner.
“Jimina…… I haven’t seen any of his matches, so I can’t really say.”
Princess Iris dodges the question.
- So Princess Iris still doesn’t know about Jimina.
“Ah, I saw it. His sword is fast, but that was about it. His posture is amateur, and it feels like he’s come so far on luck alone. I’m quite certain that it will be Annerose-sama’s win.” (girl mob)
“I saw it too, but…… he does not possess the qualifications to stand on the tournament stage. He only has momentum but no true strength.”
So both of them have determined Jimina to be a small fry.
Pretty much as expected. So my control on the general impression of Jimina so far is going well.
All the pieces are in place.
Here on is where everything starts to move……
“Though not a participant, there is one more person that I’m paying attention to.”
After asking what I wanted to ask and receiving a satisfying answer, suddenly Princess Iris brings the conversation somewhere else.
“The champion of the first Festival of the God of War, the elven Sword Saint nicknamed ‘Goddess of War’ has come to the royal capital.”
“The elven Sword Saint…… don’t tell me!”
“She hasn’t appeared on any stages for more than 10 years already!”
“I am sure that every single participant in the tournament is paying attention to the Goddess of War, Beatrix-sama’s intentions.”
I’m not paying any attention at all though.