Not long after the match began…
(It’s even harder than I thought…)
Fii really began to feel this way.
Her opponent was certainly big and strong. But he probably wasn’t very fast, so as long as she harrassed him, she might see an opening. That was what she had thought.
(I can’t even attack him…)
It might sound like stating the obvious, but Fii’s experience with swordfighting amounted to some paltry training as a child, and then two weeks of swinging a sword by herself. There was no way that she could match up to the skills of the other knight aspirants.
Without even a chance to swing her sword at him, all she could do was escape by the the skin of her teeth.
On the other hand, Gori- …Gorms too, felt surprised at the outcome.
(Not only is this kid small, but he keeps moving around and I can’t fucking hit him!)
Gorms had thought that a brat like this would be beaten down in an instant, humiliated before the crowd.
But instead, five minutes had already passed, and yet she still evaded Gorms’ attacks.
Fii’s movements were unique.
Her small and soft body could curl up like a cat’s, and as she leapt from strange positions, approached from unexpected directions, occasionally squatted on the ground or tumbled, Fii continued to evade the attacks.
(But this much still ain’t a match for me…!)
It’s true that she was surprisingly good at dodging. But not even once had he been hit by her sword.
He could tell from her movements. That she was a novice when it came to swordplay.
If she didn’t have the power to defeat him, then as long as he kept attacking, he would eventually win.
Gorms had complete confidence in his victory.
“Aahh… So it really did turn out one-sided in the end. Poor kid.”
“But ain’t his dodging damn amazing? Look at how much Gorms is attacking. I’ve never seen anyone hold out for this long, yanno.”
“But if he can’t attack then he can’t win. At this rate, it’s his loss the moment he runs out of stamina.”
Perhaps because of the trash talk before their match, Fii and Gorms were now being watched by examinees with nothing better to do.
In truth, Fii’s complexion was beginning to grow worse each time she evaded an attack.
Although she was relatively athletic for a princess, that was still only for a princess. She didn’t have much stamina to begin with. Adding days of starvation on top of that simply worsened things.
(I have to… hold on… find a chance…)
Although Fii told herself that, her body was getting heavier and heavier.
Her breathing was rough, and the sounds from her throat were growing raspy.
Then, for just a moment, her feet tangled.
Gorms’ attack finally struck Fii.
She immediately defended with her wooden sword, but the overwhelming difference in strength sent her body flying through the air into the fence.
The shock of the collision ran through her back, and for a few seconds she couldn’t breathe.
Slipping down, she collapsed onto the ground.
(I have to… get up now…!)
She couldn’t stand.
Her whole body was hurting.
Her ears were ringing.
(Even though I have to win here… I’m…)
Resignation crept into the gap between her weakened mind and body.
(Even though this might be the only chance I have, I’m…)
“Have you given up?”
At that moment, she heard a voice.
Turning her head to the source of the voice, she found the face of a certain man.
“Are you ending things here?”
Standing in front of the fence was a man looking down at her.
The blue grey eyes peering from beyond the mask on his face quietly regarded Fii.
It felt like the crowd had gotten noisier after he appeared.
Fii considered the question he had thrust at her.
Her willpower seemed to be coming back to her.
“I’m not… done yet…!”
Her voice returned to her.
The sounds returned to her.
“Don’t give up yet, Heath!”
She could hear the sound of Crow cheering for her.
“Ooh, looks like he’s still going at it.”
“But he’s still laying down. He ain’t gunna dodge the next attack like that.”
It looked like Gorms was about to swing down with his sword.
Her body still wasn’t listening to her properly. At this rate, she would lose.
After considering her next move for an instant, Fii immediately took her next move.
The fingers of her right hand grasped at the gravel, and threw it at Gorms’ face.
Gorms immediately defended against the unexpected attack, but a few rocks still managed to hit him in the eyelids.
“That kid threw dirt! So dirty!”
“Does he really want to be a knight!?”
Having found her opening, Fii slipped through Gorms’ large legs on all fours, and fled to his blind spot.
“Kuh-! Where’d he go!?”
As Gorms sought Fii with his pained eyes, one of his feet floated before Fii’s eyes.
Grabbing it, she ripped the boot off.
With the boot in hand, Fii stood up and gained some distance from Gorms who was rolling about on the ground.
“He fucking stole his shoe!”
“The kid is a thief too!”
“You stole my shoe! So fucking dirty!”
“He he he.”
Seeing Fii laughing like a villain with his shoe in hand, Gorms was just about to charge towards her, but he froze.
The examination grounds were covered with pebbles.
Once you were used to it, the pain of having rocks in your soles was negligible, but even so, Gorms stopped for a moment.
And because only one foot was bare, his balance was worse than usual which affected his movements.
Gorms was at a loss. Would it be better to take off his other boot as well? Or would it be better to stay this way.
It had only taken a second for Fii to steal his boot, and yet it was more effective than expected.
Not overlooking her chance, Fii spurred her injured body into action and swung her sword.
Gorms defended against her strike.
Their two swords clashed.
Gorms’ vision was still obstructed, he was bare on one foot, and his confidence was shaken. Because of all that, his attacks had grown duller.
In particular, the fact that he was bare on one foot made him hesitant to charge in, and he no longer had the strength to send her flying.
The overwhelming difference in strength had been reduced to the point where they could exchange blows now.
But even so, Fii was still at a disadvantage.
“There’s too much difference in height between them. Like that, he can’t reach any vitals.”
Given Fii’s height, her strikes only reached Gorms’ lower body. His vitals like the neck and the head were out of reach.
And the longer the match went, the more Gorms’ condition would improve.
If the match dragged on, then Fii would have no chance of winning.
(Now or never!)
Perhaps because they had fought for a while, Fii was familiar with Gorms’ habits now.
His attacks were direct, and took the fastest route of attack.
When she crouched down a little, Gorms’ sword came down from above.
Fii rolled to the side to avoid it.
When she did, the sword mowed horizontally to chase her. Although one would usually backstep in a situation like this, Fii instead leapt high to avoid it.
Seeing this chance, Gorms swept his sword towards her.
While airborne, she contracted her body like a coiling spring.
And then when the wooden sword came at her, she kicked off it with all her might.
“Wha-, he jumped off the sword!”
Fii’s body drew a large arc through the air.
She could now see Gorms’ head beneath her.
With all the power she could muster, Fii swung her sword down at him.
(I’ll win this match… and then live my second life!)
The strike that took her all smashed into Gorms’ head.
After a while…
“The winner of the match is Gorms!!!”
The match ended.