Chapter 23: Duel (1)
「D-Do you really intend to fight Thunderbolt-san!?」
Yuuto raised his voice to Asuka inside the training room in the mansion.
Asuka who silently swung the weight sword, wiped off her sweat and answered.
「Isn’t that obvious? It’s a duel. I must accept it」
Seeing Asuka’s expression, Yuuto made a sorrowful face. It’s not an atmosphere where she would listen.
「It’s my fault. Asuka-sama has nothing to do with this so I’ll apologize to Thunderbolt-san…」
「It’s different, Yuuto」
Asuka interrupted Yuuto midway. Yuuto became silent from Asuka’s serious tone and stared at her.
「It’s not about the love affair. …I’m sure that Thunderbolt-san bet everything and challenged me to the duel. Can you believe it? Against me? The ordinary apprentice swordsman Asuka Retroliva is being challenged by 『Certain Hit』Thunderbolt to a duel」
Asuka held the sword in front of Yuuto.
Yuuto drank his saliva due to the fighting spirit.
It’s the girl from that time. Right now she’s not wearing any treasure tool he made.
「I know. Even I think that it’s no good. On the high ranks of the heroes, I’m surely the ordinary woman. That’s why I can’t just run away」
The grip she’s holding made a creaking noise.
She must’ve thought of this all the time.
It’s scary that she always turned her eyes away.
For him, she’s much more deserving to be a heroー.
But, she won’t run anymore. She can’t run away.
Because, it’s been said. That girl clearly said.
It would be no good if it’s not her.
「I really prove what you said. I’ll never allow anyone to call you a liar」
Asuka looked straight to Yuuto.
The best in the world. This guy knows what Asuka meant by that.
Even though she’s wearing the strongest armor, holding the strongest sword, there’s still a place she can’t reach.
Then, she’ll believe in him. ‘To support him, I’ll be the strongest in the world’
「I’ll win against Thunderbolt-san」
◆ ◆ ◆
Yuuto wasn’t able to say anything more in front of Asuka’s determined expression.
He can’t say anything. He was the one who made her a hero.
But he ran. He can’t let them fight.
The 10th and the 9th in the hero rankings. The fight they will take will never end safely.
(I don’t care if I get hated. I’ll take responsibility and stop this)
Even if it ended with him being bound by the infatuation, it’s still fine. Not caring what would happen to him, Yuuto ran through the road of the capital.
He heard Thunderbolt’s house from Risty so he ran full speed there. Coming up to here, he has no choice but to make withdraw from the start.
「Okay, a bit more. …Hey!?」
Yuuto suddenly stopped. However, upon seeing the unexpected person that appeared in front of him, Yuuto thought that it’s perfect and he spoke up.
「Ruby-san? I-I’m glad. Sorry, Thunderbolt-san’s house…」
「Yo, I was waiting for you」
However, Yuuto’s eyes opened wide from Ruby’s misdirected answer.
While looking down on Yuuto, Ruby told him that it’s no coincidence.
「I thought you’d come. So I waited」
Ruby approached him slowly and Yuuto retreats vigilantly.
Her tall figure always has an overpowering impression. Yuuto is being careful from Ruby’s big breast but Ruby still stared at him directly.
「Good eyes. You have the determination. …You want Thunderbolt to withdraw in the duel right?」
Hearing Ruby’s words, Yuuto’s face brightened. Ruby also came to stop the duel. He thought so Yuuto tried to ask Ruby’s cooperation.
However Yuuto saw an unbelievable spectacle the next moment.
「Please. Please accept the duel」
Ruby lowered her head while saying so. The head of Ruby that’s higher than 2m is rubbing deeply on the ground where Yuuto’s feet is in.
「Wai!? R-Ruby-san!? Please raise your hand!」
Yuuto was in panic. The 6th in the Hero ranking, 『Safety Zone』 Ruby Sapphire Diamond1. It’s a person who’d never lower her head.
「Sorry but I won’t. Not until you consent. I’m her buddy after all」
Ruby mutters as she dogeza, Yuuto is at loss. It’s her best friend Thunderbolt’s duel. Isn’t it normal to stop it? Yuuto stares at Ruby’s lowered head.
「I think I don’t know why. If she’s my friend I should stop her I thought. It’s reasonable. The duel isn’t a question of power after all」
Yuuto stopped speaking.
The determination was seen from Ruby’s body. A yell that is stronger and gentler than the thirst of blood was issued from the lowered head.
「…I get it. Raise your head」
He mustn’t let the hero of a gentle heart be covered with mud. Yuuto spoke as he had given up.
◆ ◆ ◆
「She, Thunderbolt is a child abandoned by the village and her parents」
The words that came out from Ruby’s mouth made Yuuto’s eyes open wide.
Leaning on the wall at the back alley, Ruby folds her arms and looks in front of her.
Yuuto wasn’t convinced by the sudden confession and asked Ruby.
The 10th in the hero Ranking, 『Certain Hit』Thunderbolt. Why did such a thing happen to a girl with a brilliant military service.
「You know about Thunderbolt’s demon eyes right?」
「Of course. She has such an amazing eyes, yet why?」
Ruby smiles from Yuuto’s words. Looking on the boy who knows nothing2, she slowly clenched her fist.
「Demon eyes are originally an ability of a demon just like it’s name. She was born with that sort of eyes」
Yuuto also noticed it from Ruby’s explanation. Certainly, Thuderbolt’s eyemask is originally used to seal a demon.
「She was born from a noble family. She was born from that house. …It seems that it was cruel. It’s a prof that they had associated with the demons」
Yuuto was surprised hearing that. He never thought the past of Thunderbolt’s eyes.
Just how much hardship she had before she became a hero? Yuuto imagined a lonely hero.
「She thinks that her own eyes are cursed power. Still, she can do nothing but rely on it. She has nothing after all」
Ruby clenched her fist. Her figure is rich. Unlike her who’s expressing gratitude from the bottom of the heart, Thunderbolt’s curse only torments herself.
「That’s why she put on effort. Her archery and flight magic wasn’t an inborn talent. The effort and blood that flows she obtained is the proof of her identity」
Ruby tells proudly. Yuuto understands. Ruby admits. Thunderbolt lived through the way of respect.
However, Ruby’s face sank coldly after taking pride in her best friend.
「But, her efforts weren’t recognized」
He can recognized the anger in Ruby’s eyes. Firing a light of, Yuuto’s back shook.
Why, Yuuto asks, Ruby put strength on her fist.
「Do you know how she’s evaluated? Coward, cheater, dishonest, nothing」
Those are the words Yuuto asked. However, Ruby’s expression was more than what Yuuto imaginedー.
It’s said that she’s a coward that aims at the back.
It’s said that she’s a fellow that can be defeated.
「That’s…T-The role is different」
For instance an arena, a battle where she’d go upfront would make her certainly weak.
But, assuming that she won, or even if she’s defeated, her results would still be clouded.
However, more than that. The thing that’s deep inside Ruby’s discernment made Yuuto held his breath.
「It’s said that the demon blood that’s flowing on the demon eyes of her made it inevitable for her to be dishonest」
The moment he heard that, Yuuto’s temple bursted.5
「Don’t fuck with me. Is that what a hero do?」
Yuuto even forgets his tone as he think of a single girl.
Just what does she feel as she continue to draw her bow.
Seeing Yuuto’s expression, Ruby looked at him with gentle eyes.
Finding out that her best friend wasn’t wrong, she clenched her fist.6
「Even if it’s called a Hero, they’re decided by physical strength and power. There are a lot of people that are like a scoundrel. …Even I am not living in a road of just praise」
Ruby stared at her fist.
「She’s different. But, piling up her achievements, she was appointed with 『Certain Hit』 as an alias but she has no allies」
It wasn’t recent until I met her, Ruby bit her lip in vexation. If she had met her earlier then she might’ve saved her.
Ruby looked back. To the companion of the Swordsman Scarlet Sky. Brilliant, a fragment of the hero that’s the center of the spotlight.
「She intends to prove it to you. Her own brave figure. That she’s not a coward」
That’s why, watch with your own eyes. Ruby says so, Yuuto can’t say anything back.
Yuuto could do nothing but nod, Ruby muttered ‘Thank you’