Chapter 72: Invitation to the arena

5 minutes until the tournament starts.

We were currently in the plaza in Royal Capital Waaha, waiting for the arena to open.

The main tournament was divided into eight blocks, it was set so that the winner of each would advance like that to the top 8.

32 duos participated in each block, in total, if we won five times we would be able to participate in tomorrow’s fights.

In the case that a player doesn’t show up, it seems like they’ll replace them with NPCs.

That being the case, there’s no winning by default, this was done so you wouldn’t get information about your next opponent, the developers said that the NPCs would be quite strong.

If there was a win by default, they could make up strategies and countermeasures for the next match and there wouldn’t be any recordings, making the opponents be at quite the disadvantage…or so they said.

It’s possible to watch the matches directly in the venue, but any player can watch the tournament matches immediately after the match via replays.

That being the case, it makes you think that NPCs won’t appear at the top of the tournament.

Nevertheless, I’m curious about what kind of NPCs will participate.

The queen stated that no one from the desert would appear, so that would mean it’d be someone from the other countries.

Riizu looked as if she didn’t have much to do and while she was fixing the position of her hat, she talked to me, who was in a daze thinking about the outline of the main event.

「Now that I think about it, what group are you in, Hind-san?」 (Riizu)

「Let’s see, it’s group H. The last one.」 (Hind)

I was grateful that Selene-san and Riizu had come to the venue with us to cheer for us directly.

The mage that was in each town will open the 『Gate』 to transfer us.

Then you could wish for which group’s arena you would like to be warped to.

It was the same for the audience but there was a restriction to the number of people, it’s expected that the venue that hosts the matches of the duo of Mercenary Albert・Philia will be full in a short amount of time since they are the favorites to win the whole thing.

Even the empire’s mage who was in front of us right now, was standing still surrounded by a large number of players waiting for the main event to start.

「Looking at this, the players in the desert sure have increased in number, Secchan…Secchan?」 (Riizu)

「That won’t work Riizu. Selene-san, she hasn’t said a word since a while ago in order to not stand out.」 (Hind)

Incidentally, on top of using me as a shield, she had curled herself up in order to hide herself from the gazes of the surrounding players.

There was a reason for her ending in this state…

「Ooh, it’s the real one! It’s Hero-chan, the real one!」

「Is there a copy-cat of me? I would like to meet her.」 (Yumir)

「I’m definitely cheering for you in the match! Do your best as the representative of the desert!」

「Umu, thanks! I’ll do my best!」 (Yumir)

「Please, shake my hand!」

「Sure, I don’t really mind.」 (Yumir)

「-Thank you very much! Aah, I’m so glad I came to Sala!!」

Because we were the first ones in front of the mage, Yumir, who was with us stood out…I guess I should say as expected of celebrity that even had a thread made especially for her.

Since there weren’t that many players in the desert before, to think that coming here would feel the same as it was during the preliminaries was just wrong.

When we noticed, behind us were a lot of players standing next to each other waiting for the event inauguration.

I’m glad we came a bit ahead of time.

However, since Yumir was casually replying to the voices surrounding us, it was unnecessarily getting heated up.

In this case, it’s amazing that the voices I’m hearing are fifty-fifty when it coems to sex ratio.

Even if she was popular, you’d think that usually there would be more of a certain sex.

「Fellow comrades that have gathered in the desert, we’ll definitely win! Feel free to await with high expectations!」 (Yumir)

「「「Oooooo!!」」」

She even released her aura along with her speech, she sure is in high spirits.

As a result of her speech, our surroundings got even more fired up.

Even then, being an extra that was just accompanying Yumir, I was obviously being ignored, and I believe it would be better for Selene-san to act confidently since no one in our surroundings knows about her.

If she’s clinging on to me, it will have the opposite effect and make her stand out.

I thought about getting some distance and get back in line, but with the thick wall of people there is currently that would be hard.

Guess I’ll have her endure for a bit longer…

「Riizu-chan!」

「Riizu-chan, look over here!」

「…」 (Riizu)

On the other hand, Riizu mostly ignored the people that daringly addressed her.

She only looked at those players that were annoying and insistent as if they were trash, but for some reason, the people whose faces would loosen up and left while looking satisfied were many. I don’t get it.

「――」

Oh wait, the mage started chanting the spell without saying anything in advance.

I opened the menu to make sure, it was just the time for it to begin.

The surrounding people were making noise and didn’t notice it, but next to the mage, a spatial hole appeared and gradually grew wider.

It looks like a different magic compared to what they used for the preliminaries.

Once the mage finished chanting, the dark entrance stabilized and was fixed in place.

Along with Yumir, the players that were making noise noticed it, and this time they started making noise for a different reason.

「…Where is it you desire your arrival to be?」 (mage)

Just when I realized the mage was saying something, he suddenly threw a philosophical question at us.

It looked like a question thrown at whoever was at the front of the row, so there’s no mistake that it was addressed to me.

Hmm…I wonder if it’s fine if I reply like this?

「The venue for group H.」 (Hind)

「Acknowledged」 (mage)

Ah, so that works…it was hard to understand, so I wish they would just ask normally.

The mage raised his hand and the dark gate changed slightly in color, and he urged us to go into it.

I said a couple words to Yumir, who was still minding the other players and had her back facing us, then I got closer to the gate with Riizu and Selene-san.

「We are going in first, Yumir.」 (Hind)

「…Hmm? Ooh, when did this happen!? Wait, I’m going with you! Don’t leave me behind!」 (Yumir)

「Ah, w-wait, don’t push! Aaaaaaaaaaaaa!!」 (Hind)

「Eh? Eh?」 (Selene)

Because Yumir rushed at me, I lost my balance and since Selene-san was still clinging onto me she was dragged into the gate too.

It might have been because a lot of players requested that it would be improved, the warp was instant compared to the one used for the preliminaries.

The bad feeling you had when you were transported before was gone now.

Our bodies have finished moving to the new area and were thrown out towards the cold and hard stone floor.

We couldn’t avoid falling down, but I was able to somehow protect Selene-san from the fall.

It was different from that time when Miyu fell on top of me, the defensive gear demonstrated its efficacy and protected my back.

I’m glad…that it didn’t end up with me getting dyspnea like that time.

My HP did decrease, but that is a trivial issue.

Just when I was going to move Selene-san out of the way and stand up, a light appeared in front of me-

「Gueh!」 (Yumir)

「That was close!」 (Hind)

Following that, Yumir appeared from within and fell down, so I held Selene-san in my arms and moved out of the way in a panic.

It was probably because of the weight of her armor, she raised a cloud of dust along with a loud noise.

「Uu…why didn’t you catch me, Hind…wasn’t that mean of you…?」 (Yumir)

「Don’t ask for the impossible! I told you before, be aware of how much your armor weights!」 (Hind)

If I caught her, my back would have broken.

I mean, she only took a bit of damage, there wasn’t a need for me to catch her?

To begin with, whose fault was it that we ended up moving in this way?

「E-eh, Hind-kun…it should be about time that…uu…」 (Selene)

「Hmm? Ah, I’m very sorry!」 (Hind)

Her shy voice returned me to my senses, and I noticed that I was embracing her soft body with all my might.

It might have been because she was out of breath after I separated my body from hers, but Selene-san was bright red up to her ears.

「What are you guys doing…jeez」 (Riizu)

The gaze of Riizu, who landed calmly unlike us hurt.

I looked around as if to gloss over what happened, and I saw that we were inside a large scale arena that looked like a colosseum.


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