Howard stepped over the grass and jumped out from the starting position. He cried out a battle cry to encourage himself and threaten the enemy. Although thin and not obvious from his appearance, Howard has actually inherited the blood of the beast tribe, causing him to have this bad habit of screaming before fighting.
When he was young, he would unconsciously scream even when trying to take the enemy by surprise in the night. He suffered a lot because of it. Somehow, he managed to correct it, so it’s rare to hear him scream nowadays. If he’s screaming now, then that means he’s serious. It also means that this is one of those rare situations where he feels compelled to scream. From the way he’s moving, it looks like he has strengthened his body and his weapon with ki too.
It’s only natural to be afraid of him when he’s like this. In fact, his violent appearance has already caused the spectators to stir, but… Ryouma, who was taking the pressure coming from him head on, was—
I can’t believe he can still keep his face like that.
Even though he was standing directly opposite of Howard, Ryouma was as calm as still water. Not a twitch could be seen on that cold expression of his. And yet his eyes were sharp like a pair of swords, ever pointed at the opponent that would be the target of his attacks. Not a trace of any intimidating aura could be felt coming from him. He was here to hunt. To hunt and only to hunt.
He’s completely different from his usually gentle appearance. The sensation of having a weapon mercilessly pointed at me and the feeling of standing along the path to Ryouma’s prey made my skin break out in goosebumps.
It was like a battle between a hunter and a fierce beast.
I didn’t even have the time to wonder if the match should be stopped before an arrow was shot toward Howard.
“That’s not going to hit me!” [Howard]
The arrow cut through the wind and accurately flew to Howard’s location, but we were at the plains. Unless you hide yourself before shooting, the exact timing of the arrow being shot can be easily grasped here. Besides, this is a match. Howard knew right from the start that he was being targeted.
Perhaps, if Ryouma had showered him with arrows, he might hit him, but just one arrow couldn’t possibly hit him. All Howard had to do was change his direction a little, and he would be able to easily dodge the arrow.
In the next moment…
Howard swept with his spear and deflected the incoming arrow.
“So Ryouma had anticipated that he would dodge the first arrow, so he shot another arrow to where he thought he would dodge… That sure was quick, though. There wasn’t much of a gap between those two arrows.” [Roche]
While I muttered to myself, Ryouma continued to shoot arrows. He didn’t just aim at the body, he even went for the legs that were hard to hit and even the hands that held the spear themselves. He probably wasn’t aiming for the head or the chest since this is just a match. Even if the tip of the arrows have been rounded, it would still be dangerous if he hit those parts. As such, he’s likely aiming to slow down Howard to keep his spear away or to destroy the spear itself.
The barrage of arrows showed no end. It was as if there were two or three archers shooting at Howard. Although none of them managed to hit, they still slowed him down.
…I’m surprised he can maintain this pace of such precise arrows alone, but because of this he’ll also also run out of arrows sooner.
Just like magic, bows also have a limit on the number of times they can be used. And Howard should have no intentions of allowing himself to lose so easily. He looks like he’s struggling right now, but from the look on his face as he continues to run through the plains, it seems he’s enduring for the time being, while looking for a chance to attack.
Still, Ryouma’s skill with the bow isn’t that of a kid’s. Lv4? I think he could even reach the lower-end of Lv5. Howard is just managing to endure thanks to his experience and stubbornness. If he slackens for even a moment, he’ll immediately be shot down. If something of this scale were to take a party by surprise in a forest, it’s very possible they could be wiped out.
But with the circumstances at hand in this place, Ryouma is lacking a trump card.
As if to affirm those thoughts, the balance suddenly broke.
“Got ya!” [Howard]
Ryouma’s arrows started to slow down – probably because he was starting to run out of arrows – and Howard used that opportunity to jump at him.
” ‘Earth Fence’ !” [Ryouma]
But suddenly, a great number of evenly spaced poles suddenly appeared and blocked him.
He must be intending to use that to prevent Howard from approaching him. Meanwhile he can shoot at him through the gaps.
But if Howard is serious, that won’t be enough to stop—
” ‘Break Rock’ ‘Storm’ !” [Ryouma]
The consecutive invocation of spells caused clouds of dust to rise up.
“Uoo!?” [Student 1]
“Wait!?” [Student 2]
“It’s coming here…!” [Student 3]
His voice… It reached even the spectator seats, huh.
Still, this sure is a lot of mana. Although the spells he’s using are only basic ones. Howard tried to break the poles blocking his way, but Ryouma noticed that and broke them himself, then he used the wind to stir them up.
They can’t be aggressive here, the field of vision is bad…!
I saw a small shadow running inside the cloud of dust going to where Howard was.
With the distance between them so close, Ryouma didn’t use his bow and instead directly struck out with his arrow.
“What!? Are you serious!?” [Roche]
He was aiming for Howard’s eyes and throat.
Although a real arrowhead was small, it’s no different from a sharp blade. It can easily damage a person’s eyes. And depending on the distance, arrow can even penetrate armor. So you can also thrust someone with them.
It’s my first time seeing someone use an arrow in close combat, but I don’t think he’s gotten desperate.
Quickly and skillfully, Ryouma changed his hold over the arrow from an overhand grip to an underhand grip, then he began thrusting his arrow with different trajectories.
“That’s crazy!” [Roche]
Was it enough to change the situation after his enemy had gotten close to him?
As Howard was forced to back off, Ryouma backed off as well.
Immediately after, an arrow grazed Howard’s cheeks.
As soon as the distance opened up between them, Ryouma took the arrow he used in close combat and shot it.
As the wind cleared away the dust and the two could see clearly again, the consecutive shooting resumed.
After having broken the distance between them once more, a full quiver could be seen on Ryouma’s shoulder. Around his feet could be seen many empty quivers.
“So he hid them in his Item Box.” [Roche]
If he fills up his Dimension Magic with quivers, then he can compensate for the weakness of archery. It looks like the arrows he showed us weren’t everything he had. I don’t know how many he has, but it’s not against the rules.
Howard had jumped out thinking it was a chance, but was pushed back. Now the situation is back to how it was five minutes ago.
…How are they going to move from here?
” ‘Teleport’ ” [Ryouma]
So that’s how!
“Where did he—!? That was dangerous!” [Howard]
” ‘Teleport’ ” [Ryouma]
Ryouma suddenly appeared at a blind spot and attacked, then vanished again. Just losing sight of him once was enough to slow Howard’s reaction. Fighting like this would consume a lot of mana, but everyone knows that Ryouma has deep mana reserves.
“Ryouma has completely taken the pace.” [Roche]
After watching the battle to this point, I think I know now why the guild master is fussing over Ryouma.
It’s because he’s strong. I don’t know what school he came from, but he has fully learned its techniques. That’s the sort of movements he’s showing.
And although it’s not as good as his weapons, his magic is also good. His consecutive spell invocation earlier was fast and he has an absurd amount of mana to back it up too.
He has good survival skills. It’s not just because of his house made with earth magic, but also because of his vast knowledge on medicine. He can procure food without problems. He has a store back in town.. Even if he doesn’t do anything, he can live on just fine.
Everything about him is far and above average. Having this much skill at his age leaves me with nothing but shock. If he seriously goes at it, he can reach B Rank or higher in less than 5 years. I’d bet my money on it. Ryouma won’t have much problem with most things the way he is now.
…But that also means that he ‘won’t need to be saved.’
Generally, the reason people seek help from others is because they can’t do everything alone.
Even if others try to help him, they’ll just get in the way.
Because Ryouma is so skilled that he can do anything, he’ll end up alone.
At least, that’s what I thought at first, but after watching over this match in person as a referee, I now realize that I was wrong.
Adventurer work goes hand in hand with danger. The higher the rank, the more dangerous the job, and the less safe jobs are available. Normally, a person would trip while still at a low rank and be forced to realize that he can’t do everything alone; thereby, causing him to search for party members. Unfortunately, Ryouma probably won’t experience such a thing. If he lets his guard down and fails at something, then it’s still fine, but…
’Skilled beginners die young’
The less conceited a person is and the more seriously he takes his work, the less likely a person is to fail at the lower ranked jobs. The work gets even faster when a person is skilled. Someone who climbs up the ranks quickly will find it too late to turn back by the time he realizes his limits.
It’s not something we like to talk about, but any adventurer who’s been at the field long enough knows it.
’Why did he have to do that?’ ‘Even though he was so strong…’ ‘If only he hadn’t pushed himself, his future would have been…’
Hearing such things at the guild isn’t a rare thing.
People who lacks skills so much that they could be called dullards are the ones who are able to stay at this field the longest.
That’s probably why the guild master is looking after Ryouma.
Even I can tell. Ryouma Takebayashi is a talent. And the sort that’s likely to die young.
His skills are several levels better than I expected, but because of that he’s likely to go somewhere even more dangerous.
Unless he has party members to stop him, that is.
“I want to do something about him while it’s not too late yet…” [Roche]
A minute later, the rain of arrows finally hit Howard.
Tl Note: Twice as long as the usual, so this will count twice against the queue.