I continued to watch the remaining fights for the day, but none of the fights were particularly interesting. Though it did give me more of an idea of what this tournament actually is.
While there were still a few fighters that put up good fights, there were also some that seemed like complete amateurs. More than once the announcer introduced someone as a great mage just for them to be taken out in minutes if not seconds after the round started. Even still, few of those that lost seemed that upset by it.
I decided to ask Incha about it and he explained that most of the fighters aren’t here to actually win. With monsters like the previous champion, Afeuro, and the Yuusha participating they know that they don’t have a chance. The tournament seems to be a status symbol for quite a few of the participants. Getting past the preliminaries already shows your one of the best of the best, but if you advance through the rounds your country knows to invest in you.
Titles, money, even a shot at entering the nobility. If you prove yourself here your country will shower you will rewards to try and keep in your good favor. Thinking about it from the nobilities standpoint, however, this tournament is a great opportunity for them. Not only do they get a constant flow of fighters desperately trying to get stronger for a chance to win, but each country gets a chance to prove their might over their neighboring countries.
In the end, none of that really matter to me though. It does mean however that if I get lucky I won’t have any challenging opponents until the Yuusha. It would be great if I can keep a few cards up my sleeve before I have to fight him.
I don’t plan on losing, but I’m not so hotheaded that I think I’m going to be able to beat him easily just because I’m not expected yet. A Maou has never won against the Yuusha before according to Gero, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that thought of getting a surprise attack in while the Yuusha was still fresh. If I’m going to win I’m going to need to give it everything I’ve got… but the fact that people often die in this tournament means that I won’t be punished if I do manage to kill him. My goal of living in peace would be achieved. If the opportunity presents itself I’m certainly not going to pass it up.
“Contestant number 34 Mano, you are to come with us immediately!” I hear in a sharp and strict voice snapping me out of my contemplation
A cold sweat runs down my spine as I look up to see several soldiers in full armor holding spears towards me.
“You have it wrong, I haven’t done anything yet!” I say as I throw my hands in the air in a panic
Do they have mind reading powers or something?!
“…The king has requested an audience with you, and he is very impatient. Come with us immediately.” The guard closes to me explains without lowering his spear
Eh? The king? Seriously?! Talk about short notice! Crap, I’m still a bit sweaty from earlier, and my clothes are still a bit covered in dust from smacking into that wall. Can’t I at least wash up first?!
Wait, this at least means I wasn’t discovered right? I can’t imagine the king would want to be in the same room as such a being as fearsome as the Maou, right?
After getting dragged away, without so much as a chance to make myself presentable, I was lead into an empty throne room and told to kneel. At first, the guards that lined the room showed a conceited look as I waited in the room on one knee, but when I heard the door behind me open their faces drained of color and their expression became ridged.
I tried to keep a dignified look because I thought it must have been the king, but when I turned to see who it was I saw Juire walking in casually with his pinky stuck in his ear digging for wax.
As Juire and his accompanying guard arrived next to me his guard attempted to speak.
“Kne-!” Was all he got out before a glare from Juire silenced him
Man… that “Intimidate” skill sure is useful, perhaps I should use that more often. Though, that would certainly be counter to my attempts to not make myself look like a villain. It seems like even trained soldiers have little resistance against it though. Perhaps it will make for an easier escape in the future if I’m ever discovered.
“What are you doing down there? Stand up already, you look ridiculous.” Juire says to me as he waves his hand to indicate I should stand
Nervous, but embarrassed that he is looking down on me, I stand up next to him. The guard next to him starts to glare at me angrily, but I simply return a defiant stare and look away.
If Juire is here, this must be about the tournament. Since he’s my sponsor we need to have a united front, even if that front pits me against the king at the moment. It’s not like I’m the biggest fan of the king anyway. Someone that would send his own daughter off in the hands of such an irresponsible brat to go on a dangerous journey must be messed up in the head.
“ALL KNEEL BEFORE THE KING OF TESLAGR, THIRD OF HIS LINEAGE, FIRST OF HIS SPLENDOR! LONG MAY HE LIVE, KING ULRICH!” The scrawny man standing next to the throne yells at the top of his lungs
I notice a grin crack across Juire’s face, the kind of smile you would see on a villain when he was hatching a plan.