Chapter 26 – Preparations for the duel
To avoid making too much of a show of the duel, it was decided that it will be held in front of the blacksmith shop.
I would like to avoid drawing the attention of people and prevent information about my capabilities from getting out too.
Those points were something both Hilde and I agreed on.
Hilde went to the Guild in high spirits to get a Guild employee to serve as an observer for the duel.
During that time, I was preparing for the upcoming duel.
I shouted with my sword raised.
My life force turned to light and covered me to serve as a shield.
〈Life Shield〉【Normal Skill】
It takes 20% of your maximum HP to activate.
A shield with the same durability as the HP deducted covers the entire body.
It’s my well known Heavy Knight Skill.
“Kid, why do you keep doing that? If you keep using a Skill before it’s time, it will only be a waste of MP….”
Berga asked me anxiously.
With a strenuous effort from me, cracks appeared in the [Life Shield]’s membrane of light, which then shattered and disappeared.
“And there you go again, turning off the Skill you just activated…. I have no idea what you are hoping to accomplish with that.”
“Managing my HP.”
“That makes even less sense. The way young people think nowadays is a mystery.”
Berga let out a sigh of resignation.
The Heavy Knight’s lack of Agility is a huge obstacle in a duel.
It’s best if I activate [Half-Dead Savage Dragon], for which my HP needs to be below 20%, right at the start to bridge that gap.
Also, since I have to activate [Life Shield] multiple times, I need to have some time to properly prepare.
“….uh, uhm, can you win this, Elma-san? You will need to rely on the [Half-Dead Savage Dragon] for this, right? As for the [Relentless Vigor]….there should be no need for that one, right….?”
“I guess so. A Magic Swordsman is more troublesome than a Sword Saint due to their ability to deal a lot of damage in a short time, despite their plain Skills. And since their Magic is also quite high, like their Attack, they often have useful magic Skills too.”
With the [Half-Dead Savage Dragon] on, the Agility of a Magic Swordsman and a Heavy Knight is about the same.
Due to our level difference, I’m most likely a bit behind on that.
Since she can send out a magic attack from mid-range at any time, I can’t let my guard down in this fight for even a moment.
And in a normal duel, [Relentless Vigor] is useless.
〈Relentless Vigor〉【Normal Skill】
Can only be activated when the remaining HP is under 50%.
It lowers Defense to 【0】 and increases the Attack by the same amount.
While it’s activated, it continuously consumes MP.
Indeed, this Skill would only increase the risk of dying for both me and my opponent.
Even if I boost my Attack to six times its original value if I use it in conjunction with [Half-Dead Savage Dragon], it would only be a severe overkill.
Against opponents with a ranged attack, setting my Defense to zero could easily lead to an accidental death.
“To be honest, the main reason I managed to win against Mariss was because she was still around 【Lv：40】 and she only knew how to fight by relying on an incomplete [Vajra Barrage]. The Heavy Knight’s compatibility against a Magic Swordsman is very bad, due to the Heavy Knight’s lack of mobility and the Magic Swordsman’s magic Skills.”
In the fights against the Dream Lords, the fact that my partner, Luce, is a tricky type Class, allowed us some leeway in our strategies.
However, in a one-on-one fight, there are only so many things I can do.
“Wasn’t this a reckless choice after all, kid? You can still try to apologize, or maybe run away….”
“I still have a winning chance of course. If I didn’t, then I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to accept her challenge like this. I’m aware of her most likely Skill point distribution and battle strategies. The problem was that I wasn’t sure if she would keep her word at first, but with a witness sent by a large city’s Guild like this one, she should hold to her word. We even have some pull with the Guild Leader, just in case.”
“E-Elma-san’s expression looks a bit evil right now….”
“Let’s chastise that brat about making trouble for your smithy too, so she would lay off in the future.”
“….although that girl was quite small, she is still older than us, you know?”
However, even if I have already thought of a few strategies that could let me win, a Magic Swordsman is not an opponent that I should be underestimating.
If she acts in an unexpected manner, then she may be able to corner me solely because of that.
Most of all, if high level adventurers get too carried away when fighting each other, it might lead to someone dying on accident.
“It feels a bit too cowardly for my tastes, but…. let’s go with that strategy after all.”
I’ve thought it over a few times already, but this method should be the safest for both me and my opponent.
It should also limit the opportunity for my opponent to try and to complain about the outcome after the duel, and if it doesn’t work to begin with, then I will be able to switch to a different strategy right away.
“And what is that strategy? P-please don’t do something too dangerous, okay….?”
“It’s not that big of a deal, but….a Magic Swordsman almost always has a weak spot, or rather an unbalance in their thought process, I guess. It’s not really a weak point per se, but a habit borne out of necessity.”
“An unbalance….in their thought process?”
Luce blinked in confusion.
“Certainly not all of them, but judging by Hilde’s actions, she should be among them, I’m almost completely sure.”
“And that is….?”
At that exact moment, the door was opened.
“I’ve brought the witness, Heavy Knight. You didn’t do anything unwelcome to my sword, right?”
It was Hilde.
Behind her, there was a Guild employee with a cramped, fake smile on her face.
“I was dragged here with only ‘there is this brazen Heavy Knight, so come with me’ as an explanation, but it seems it really was you two….Elma-san, Luce-san.”
It was Maltida, the receptionist girl from before.
It seems she will serve as the witness for our duel.
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