A loud cheer rang out as I walked through the passage from the waiting room to the arena.
“Do your best Arnos-chan!”
“If you’ve come this far you’ve won this Arnos! Get fired up!”
My parents voices ring out.
“You’re looking cool today Arnos-sama!”
“Instant death as usual please!”
“But if it’s instant death we won’t see Arnos-sama’s gallant figure which we haven’t seen in ages!”
“Then please take your time Arnos-sama!”
The voices of my fan union ring out like always.
“Next to appear is a member of the Lognos Demon Sword Association! The player who attained perfect victories without getting hurt! Ray Grandori!”
Ray appears out of the other passage.
Cheers ring out from the seats.
“He’s here! I’ve been waiting! The demonic sword saint!”
“Show that mixed-race brat the order of things!”
“Yeah! Show those unification faction idiots who are getting all excited how it is!”
The royal faction is rooting for Ray.
It’s turned into a proxy war between the unification faction and the royalist faction.
“Fumu. Sure is noisy.”
“Isn’t it just.”
Ray smiles his usual refreshing smile.
It was a natural smile that was full of eagerness. Has he made a breakthrough of some sort?
“Before the match starts the tournament organisers have something to inform you.”
I thought they would use some petty tricks and here it comes.
“The finals will be performed under special rules. Firstly, each player must wear a bracelet.”
While the owl is talking guards come over to me and Ray.
I hold out my hand and I’m given a glittering bracelet.
“Not only the sword but if the bracelet is destroyed you lose.”
Fumu. It doesn’t seem like it cuts off your magic.
I take a closer look.
The <Demonic Imbibing Bracelet>. A tool from the age of myths.
It continuously absorbs the magic power of the person wearing it. For a normal person, this would make using magic almost impossible.
I’d have to break it to stop it but then I’d lose.
They are trying to chip away at my power I see.
“That bracelet isn’t a poor copy Arnos Voldigod.”
A voice addressed only to me echoes directly in my head via Thought Transmission <Liikus>.
Following the magic trail, I look up and see it coming from the owl.
“That <Demonic Imbibing Bracelet> will continuously absorb your power and send it to another location.”
It’s telling the truth. After activating my demon eyes I can see a magic line sending the magic somewhere.
“If you cut off your magic power Sheila’s spirit disease will worsen and she’ll die.”
I see. Are you ready to wipe out the rumours that give Sheila life?
“And if you win Ray Grandori will have his origin erased.”
Fumu. I have no doubt the contracted demon sword will work if it’s activated.
Did you say what you wanted to say? The owl cuts off <Liikus>.
We wear the bracelets under the eyes of the guards. Looking over at Ray’s bracelet I can see that its a fake. It’s not a magic tool.
“We can now begin the final match of the Deiruheido demon sword tournament! Begin!!”
Ray unsheathes Initeio and raises the pure white sword towards me. Drawing my sword a light metal sound rings out as I place it on Initeio in place of a greeting.
“I would have been so happy if I could have just swung my sword around without thinking.”
“Fumu. I wouldn’t say its totally impossible though.”
Ray lets out a vague smile.
“Can you fight with your magic being drained?”
“Don’t be reserved. If you go easy on me you’ll die.”
“I thought so.”
Ray sets up his sword an I lower mine like usual.
We are already in each others strike zone but neither of us could move.
There’s no gap in Ray’s defence. No matter where I strike I’ll be countered by that pure white sword.
It’s my style to break open any defence no matter how robust by sheer force but this time that won’t work since Initeio will cancel Hiding Magic <Najira> and Arms Strengthening <Adeshin>.
I have no choice but to avoid direct attacks and I can’t win anyway since Ray will disappear if I do.
What can I do?
I’m not in a deadlock but it’s still a very troublesome situation.
I was waiting to see how Ray would move but he also was standing still.
Several minutes pass as we stare at each other but Ray suddenly relaxes.
“I was told to play for time in the finals.” Ray mutters.
I’m a little surprised he’s exposed that.
“It’s more advantageous the longer I wait.”
<Najira> and <Adeshin> consume a lot of magic power plus my magic is also being drained by that bracelet.
If Ray goes on the defensive then beating him with my sword will be difficult.
Me not moving is certainly disadvantageous.
“But I’m bored with that now.”
At the same time as his words Initeio’s tip blurred and grazes my cheek at a speed that cannot be followed with your eyes.
In order to separate us I swing my sword at Ray’s left hand.
I had thought that Ray would avoid it but he steps forward and our bodies come into contact forcefully stopping my arm.
At this range it’s impossible to swing my sword.
What kind of technique is this? In the small area that impossible for a sword to strike a fist approaches my chin.
Pulling back to dodge it, the snow-white blade approaches my face as I’m off balance.
If I receive that I’ll be torn up.
In that case——
Rays sword cuts into my left arm. My flesh tears and the blade reaches my bone where it stops.
“I’m sorry to say but my bones are very hard.”
“Your body is as random as usual Arnos.”
Ray pulls Initieo out and retreats setting up his stance again.
Looking at him his left arm is hanging unnaturally.
Thinking about it Ray was also slower than usual and he only used one hand. If he’s used both he would have severed my arm.
“What’s with your arm?”
“I want our match to be as equal as possible.”
“Did you cut the tendons yourself?”
“Yeah. It’s pretty painful though.”
Ray holds Initeio in his right hand like its nothing.
“Is that okay?”
Giving up on playing for time and cutting his own arm are both acts of betrayal against the royal faction. The contract to treat his mother will be broken.
“Arnos. In the group competition I thought I’d finally met you. The opponent I cannot beat even if I stake my all on this sword. I wanted to clash against you with everything I had.”
He keeps his guard up as he continues talking quietly.
“However, as long as me and my mom are held hostage you cant give it your all.”
Ray is surely being watched. The mazoku who implanted the contacted demon sword is surely aware of what he’s saying.
“I thought a lot but all I have is the sword.”
Ray speaks in a determined tone.
“I betrayed the contract and now the contract sword is cutting into my origin.”
As expected, however, an ordinary person would have already been destroyed at this point after having their origin cut. It’s still only a matter of time for Ray though.
“I’ll be dead soon and my mother can’t be saved either. You don’t have to worry anymore.”
Ray points his sword tip at my left arm.
“I will win to protect my friendship with you.”
If Ray destroys the bracelet he wins and if the owl was telling the truth then the loss of magic will kill Sheila.
If I don’t break it it will continue to absorb my magic forever.
He must have judged that I wouldn’t abandon Sheila so he will end his own mother’s life himself.
To protect me you offer your own life then?
“Won’t you ask for my help?” (A)
“You might die.” (R)
“I won’t die.” (A)
“Maybe, but maybe not. No matter how much of a transcended being you are, what type of friend would I be if I keep putting you in danger?” (R)
“This is the best solution for me as well. I get to finally beat you and protect you.” (R)
So that it. It’s a story based on me losing on purpose though.
If this bracelet is destroyed then Sheila’s safety cannot be assured, however, the owl said nothing about my sword getting broken.
In other words their purpose is my magic power. They don’t care about who wins this tournament.
I could lose on purpose, pull out the contracted demon sword from Ray and fight again after crushing this plot by Avos Dillheavia.
A smart person would do this.
But I can’t do it.
Even in this situation where his origin is being cut Ray wants to fight me.
He wants neither fame nor status he only wants the sword. In his last moments Ray is giving his all to the sword.
You might think him a stupid person but its what he wants.
If I put it off then I’m not qualified to be this mans friend.
“Don’t surrender to the enemy and don’t rely on me, just stick to your beliefs. That’s what my friend does.”
I take one step forward.
“You don’t have to think about anything anymore Ray. Unification faction or the royalists. Forget about your mother even. There’s only me and you now.”
Ray smiles a genuine smile.
“Now come. Let’s play.”
I’ll get in the way of whatever Avos Dillheavia is planning later.
My parents are supporting me, I promised Misha I’d win and Ray is challenging me to a fight.
This has nothing to do with the reborn demon king of tyranny. This is the final match between us two.