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Chapter 6 - Grand Coliseum
Airships were a relatively common mean of transport in Asterisk. They, which were miniaturized by Meteoric Engineering technology, could take off and land well enough if there were landing fields of a heliport size.
That said, they were mainly oriented towards tourists, and students rarely used them. If there was an exception, it would be in case that the student council staff disliked congestion when they went out until the central district.
“U-Um, I am sorry for the late introduction…! I-I am Zhao HuFeng, I act as the secretary in the World Dragon Seventh Institute Student Council!”
“You’re the  Zhao-kun, right? Of course, I know you. If I’m not mistaken, you’ve also come to my concerts, right?”
“Eh? H-How do you know that…?”
“From the stage, I’m looking as much as possible at the faces of people who always came at my concert. Naturally, I can’t remember everyone though.”
When Sylvia smiled sweetly, the boy ── HuFeng’s face suddenly turned bright red.
Speaking of the Zhao HuFeng, he currently is the World Dragon Seventh Institute rank #5. He was a warrior who achieved the runner up status in the four years ago ── or he should be, but at the moment, he only looked like a mere fan.
“Sorry. That fellow likes Ms. Diva very much.”
XingLu sitting in front of Ayato clatteringly laughed as she said so.
World Dragon Seventh Institute’s airship where a dragon was drawn on the hull was a small size, but the interior was quite spacious. Although saying that, its guest room could gather up to ten people. The indoor was of an oriental structure typical of a World Dragon’s airship, a window was greatly open on the wall surface, and one could overlook Asterisk’s cityscape below.
“Speaking of which, errr…”
“XingLu is fine. You aren’t my disciple, so the honorific is unneeded.”
“Then, XingLu. That event, perhaps will you also participate?”
“No. This time, I’m taking part as the management side. Instead, HuFeng will participate.”
At her words, HuFeng who looked flustered completely switched his mood and knitted his brows.
“I said that I did not want to though. But Master forced me…”
Compared to XingLu, HuFeng seemed to have a pretty serious personality. So, one could easily guess that he was always anxious when it came to her.
“But well, it’s a rare opportunity since I can see ’s ability closely, so since I’m participating, I will effectively utilize it.”
As HuFeng said so, he turned a challenging gaze towards Ayato.
They were upright eyes as to let one feel the heat peculiar to a soldier.
“Also, there is also a big guest whose emergency participation was decided last night.”
“A big guest?”
“Yes, it’s the .”
“…? Don’t tell me the one from Garrardsworth?”
As he raised a surprised voice, XingLu contentedly nodded.
“Judging only from sword skill, there’s no one who surpassed him currently in Rikka. Well, if that young lady of your school was the same age, I don’t know how it would turn though.”
“Heeh, so even Ernest will participate…”
Sylvia who heard that was somewhat lost in thought.
“──Hey, XingLu. That event, are the registrations still opened?”
To Sylvia who suddenly asked as such, Ayato and HuFeng’s complexions changed; but XingLu suddenly bent forward as to check it.
“Hohoho, aren’t you motivated, Ms. Diva?”
“It’s certain that it’s a rare opportunity after all.”
“Good, good, it should be like that. What, the participation registrations are already closed, but you may leave it to me. I’ll make you participate even if I have to force it. ──Well, I don’t think that there will be fools who will decline if Sylvia Lyyneheym wishes to participate though.”
XingLu said so and exultantly took out her portable terminal.
『Now, ladies and gentlemen gathered here in this hall! Have you fully enjoyed the annual school festival? Those who have already enjoyed themselves enough, no, even those who still haven’t had enough, let’s me assure you that going back home without watching this will be a great loss that will echo throughout your life! Thank you for waiting! It is finally the start of the Grand Coliseum!』
Eishiro’s voice echoed in the Sirius Dome and great storm-like cheers raised undulation as if to respond to it. That climax was in no inferior to that of a .
All the participants were already gathered in the stage, and they numbered about 30.
Since as soon as Ayato and company arrived at the hall, they were handed a lux and showed to this stage, they were not yet told what they should do.
『I, Yabuki Eishiro of Seidoukan Academy Newspaper Club, will be in charge of the live coverage of this event jointly organized by three academies. Pleased to meet to you.』
When looking towards the commentary seat, Eishiro was grasping the mike with an indeed excited expression.
Still, Eishiro was making a very fine live coverage even though it was not his principal occupation.
“Yo, Amagiri. You still have that stupid look as usual. You don’t look like the ’s champion at all.”
Then, a familiar voice accosted Ayato from behind.
“Long time no see, Irene. You look energetic as usual.”
“Hmph, not quite. Thanks to a certain someone, is no longer usable. I’m also ranked #18 now.”
Irene said so, but since she lost , it was probably thanks to her high physical specs that she could be in that position. In fact, Ayato understood it after fighting her, but her self-taught taijutsu was little inferior even compared with the top rankings of World Dragon.
“Which reminds me, I heard that you came to our academy during the day. That you came accompanied by a woman. Unexpectedly, you aren’t to be underestimated, huh.”
Irene said so with a smirk.
She had probably heard that from Priscilla.
But, how on earth should he explain it?
『This time, the contenders participating in this Grand Coliseum are only warriors up-and-coming ranks or higher in each academy who went through rigorous scrutiny! Since it’s a rare opportunity, I will introduce particularly well-known guest participants who are among them! First, the champion and Seidoukan Academy rank #1 still fresh in everyone’s memory! The user of an old style swordsmanship transmitted from the warring eras, the Amagiri Ayato!』
Then, the spotlights suddenly focused on Ayato, and he unintentionally closed his eyes partly due to their dazzle.
At the same time, cheers calling Ayato’s name rose conspicuously and the hot atmosphere seemed to burn his skin.
『Furthermore, there is the of Garrardsworth whose participation was decided in a hurry! The leader of the Silver Wings Knights and rank #1 who won the twice successively, the last time and the time before last! A knight among knights whom that has fallen in love with at first sight, Ernest Fairclough!』
This time, the spotlights moved to Ayato’s right and a handsome man wearing Garrardsworth’s uniform lightly raised his hand.
Immediately after, piercing-like shrill cheers arose.
It looked like Ernest’s popularity with women was quite high.
『And, and~! A really unexpected emergency participation! The matchless diva, the world’s best top idol, Queen Veil’s rank #1 and the runner-up! The one whose singing voice enchanted all things, the Sylvia Lyyneheym~!』
And when the spotlights moved to Ayato’s diagonal left deafening cheers, in incomparable amount with Ayato’s and Ernest’s, broke out in the Sirius Dome.
Rather than cheers, it was already close to shrieks.
“Well, she’s a world-class Diva after all. It’s to be expected, right?”
Irene who said so did not seem that much interested in Sylvia.
“As for me, I’m more interested in that boy.”
Irene set her glance to HuFeng doing warm-ups by the wall.
“I came to think of doing hand-to-hand fighting again. But as expected, World Dragon’s martial arts are more logical. In the way of using prana or something like that, I guess? Among them, that guy is exceptionally skillful at it.”
“Heeh…… So that means Irene has happened to witness a battle Zhao HuFeng.”
The movements of prana and mana were quite hard to grasp with only a video recording.
Ayato has also watched a match video of HuFeng, but it somehow or other gave the impression that his speed was out of the common.
If it was only about speed, he might be faster than anyone Ayato has seen so far.
“Well yes. ──Is it finally the explanation?”
As he returned his attention to Eishiro’s voice at Irene’s words, the explanation about the event contents was certainly about to begin.
『──With all that said, I shall finally explain what kind of event the Grand Coliseum is! After all, we’ve only disclosed the participatory field simulation battle in the prior announcement. I think that the contenders are already impatient to know it, too.』
It was quite amazing since the Sirius Dome was already full despite the fact that only such vague information was revealed. Rather, fanning the curiosity by keeping secrecy to some extent might also have worked effectively.
In fact, an event which used the Sirius Dome must go through the deliberation of Asterisk parliament which managed it. Needless to say that a large amount of funds was necessary, if the outlook as an event was a project with misgivings, it should have been rejected.
On that point, with only the fact that it was an event held in the Sirius Dome on the last day of the school festival, there would be many visitors who anticipated that quality should be secured to some extent.
『First of all, this Grand Coliseum is organized in three phases. The contender who clears each phase’s condition can proceed to the next phase, but in case he fails, then he will be disqualified; so please note that.』
“Clear the condition, huh… it’s seem like a game, I guess.”
“I don’t think it’s something that sweet though. After all, I hear that the organizer of this event is the ’s vice president.”
Speaking of , Camilla Pareto was its president and it was Allekant’s largest faction.
“Currently, the is right in the midst of headship dispute of Camilla Pareto. This event too is mostly planned basically as to show off her research results.”
Certainly it was difficult to imagine that she simply organized an event of this scale as a mere entertainment.
“Well then, let’s stop with the chat here. Do your best.”
When Irene said so, she parted from Ayato while waving her hand.
A huge space screen was unfolded overhead of the stage and the small conditions that Eishiro was explaining now were displayed there.
『And here is an important point, the Grand Coliseum isn’t a battle royal! Hence, battles between players are prohibited. In case that one was to intentionally attack another contender, he will immediately be disqualified; so please note that. In addition, in order to expect fairness regarding the contenders’ weapons, we will have them use normal luxes which the management prepared.』
“Oh, so that’s why I was given this.”
What was given to Ayato was a blade type lux.
No matter what the conditions were, if he were to use in a setting where a weapon was necessary, it could not be considered nothing but as unfair.
『Similarly, and are prohibited the use of their abilities ── though I say that, there is only one person whom it applied to among the participants this time.』
Needless to say, that one person was Sylvia.
It seemed that the management wanted to have contests with only physical ability and technique purely.
(I guess, they probably had their eyes on the and beforehand with that “strict scrutiny”……)
There was a chance that XingLu might protest against concerning Sylvia, but as expected her name value exceed it.
『Now then, we’ll leave the introduction as this and begin the first phase at once!』
At the same time as Eishiro’s words, the illumination changed completely and countless glitters poured down from the ceiling to the center of the stage.
“Is that a RectoluxShining Type Long-Range Induction Armament…?”
The shining blade of light sword devices and the large gun devices both equally stopped in mid-air. Their number was probably not less than hundred.
Judging from the fact that the users’ figure could not be seen, though one did not know how many people it took, they might be operating from a different place.
『Now, as you see, this is the new type lux which is the topic of talk right now! I will ask the participants to clear the condition while getting through the attacks of these!』
The Shining Type Long-Range Induction Armament that Allekant and Seidoukan jointly developed and that Julis served as a monitor has just been officially announced at the end of last year.
Therefore, at present its users were only limited to the students of Allekant and Seidoukan; but it would eventually be spread to the other academies, too.
“…I see, so the first phase also serves as demonstration of this, huh.”
As Irene said, there seemed to be a lot of expectations behind the scenes.
『The condition to clear is to destroy the target terminals within the time limit. Since the target terminals’ mana dites’ color isn’t the usual green, but changed to red, please aim at it. However, there are 20 in total. And there are 31 participants, so at least 11 people will drop out here.』
When he said and confirmed it, among the Shining Type Long-Range Induction Armament, terminals with a different color were certainly mixed in.
『In addition, in this first phase, unlike the , the whole body will be the target for judgment. On the occasion when one was hit by an attack, they will be disqualified regardless of the existence or not of the damage; so please be careful.』
That was again a very severe condition.
A one-on-one fight aside, the fact that, this was an environment where it would force a melee situation and would push the participants to be jumbled up together, even one hit from another participant was not permitted, and the stage was considerably advantageous for the organizer side.
『──You all, participants, are you ready? Well then first phase, start!』
Immediately after, Shining Type Long-Range Induction Armaments deployed so as to surround the participants.
“Sigh… it isn’t fun to be used for somebody’s convenience, but I guess I’ll do my best for the time being.”
Almost at the same time as Ayato released his seal, light bullets came attacking him from 360° all directions. Moreover, the sword type devices flew about so as to close their openings, some of them revolved overhead which was their blind spot, and there were also some which nose dive.
For Ayato who could use the state of “cognition”, dodging such attacks was a piece of cake.
No matter how many they were, the competency of the user meant everything for the things known as weapon after all.
From what Ayato saw, the users of the Shining Type Long-Range Induction Armaments did not seem to be as skilled as Julis.
As he looked for a target device while casually repelling the light bullets with his sword, he found it before long.
The target device, not participating in the attacks, was cautiously swimming the outer perimeter; but as if having noticed that Ayato aimed for it, it immediately flew to the back as to escape.
However, Ayato saw through the angle of a light bullet which attacked him and eluded it, and changed its trajectory to the target. It hit the target accurately and the target lost its balance in mid-air.
When Ayato instantly shortened the distance while slipping through a barrage, he cut down under the handle of the target with one stroke of his sword.
『T-This is early! Player Amagiri clears the first phase within the first minute after the start!』
While hearing lively cheers, Ayato moved back to a corner of the stage.
“──As one would expect of you, Amagiri-kun.”
Then, a young man who similarly parted from the melee ── Ernest spoke to Ayato.
It looked like Ernest has also cleared the first phase early.
“Hahaha, I’m really honored to be praised by Asterisk’s strongest swordsman.”
“I’m not something that exaggerated ── should I say nice to meet you. Though we met in the award ceremony of the .”
Ayato grabbed Ernest’s right hand which was held out.
He had never thought that he would shake hands with two ranks #1 twice on the same day.
“Your school seems to assume fights of one against many, so as expected is this kind of situation your specialty?”
“Well, yes. A one-on-one fight is basic in Garrardsworth School’s swordsmanship, right?”
“Yes, it isn’t a development from a battlefield swordsmanship, but rather from duel swordsmanship after all.”
Since he was Garrardsworth’s student council president, Ayato thought that it would be a more formal person; but he unexpectedly gave off a friendly atmosphere. He was slightly older than Ayato, probably around 20 years old.
However, Ernest, still holding Ayato’s hand as is, fixedly stared at his face.
“Errr… what is it?”
“No, it was rude of me. Actually, since some time now I have wanted to talk slowly with you once. Well, I guess we can’t do it slowly in this situation.”
When Ernest said so and released his hand, he revealed a bitter smile.
“I was also told the something similar a while ago… By World Dragon’s student council president.”
“Hahaha, if you’ve caught the princess’s eye, then I guess it means that you’re the real deal.”
“But for some reason, I can’t seem to grasp that person, so I’m a little…”
Then, Sylvia came their way with a displeased face.
“Hmm, so this is a Shining Type Long-Range Induction Armament, huh… it isn’t really what I’ve expected.”
Sylvia did not seem to like the new type lux.
“Oh, Miss Lyyneheym. As expected, you were acquainted with Amagiri-kun, huh?”
“Well, yes. But, what do you mean by ‘as expected’?”
“Yesterday, both of you came to my school, right?”
“Oh my… were we found out?”
To his words, Ayato and Sylvia looked at each other.
They certainly went around Garrardsworth on the afternoon, but it might be said that it was the most peaceful academy without any incident in particular. They did not think that their identities have been found out.
“We have a girl with good eyes in our school, you see?”
“Ah, I see. That girl wearing men’s clothes, huh.”
As she had an idea of whom it was, Sylvia held her forehead with a face saying “oops”.
“Our vice-president who heard that the ranks #1 of Queen Veil and Seidoukan came over together, was a little worried about it. But, it looks like it was a needless anxiety.”
“Well, we were only on a date after all. Right, Ayato-kun?”
“Hou, I’m really envious.”
As the three of them continued their idle chat as is for a while, the big buzzer sound suddenly echoed.
『End of the first phase!』
When they returned their gazes to the stage center at Eishiro’s voice, the Shining Type Long-Range Induction Armament, which were numerous in numbers, had stealthily decreased in number.
At the same time, there seemed to be more participants, who retired at the first stage than they thought.
But, there was something that Ayato was more anxious about.
(The first phase lasts about 15 minutes, huh… if the two remaining phases look like they will take too much time, then it’ll be slightly bad I guess.)
Ayato released the seal applied on him by Haruka, and the time he was able to go all out became much longer than
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