It was a few days after the incident with the Eastern Dormitory.
The boys of the Northern Dormitory were sitting in the dining hall at their wits end.
They had found out later that this was something of a tradition between the two dorms. Five boys would be chosen from each dorm, and they would show off their swordsmanship before the various Division Leaders.
However, it was something decided between the actual knights themselves and was by no means public. For this reason, the Northern Dormitory boys hadn’t known about it.
As for how they were faring with this news―――
―――they could only be described as terrified.
“Why are they matching up the Northern and Eastern Dormitories? The difference is just so…”
“It’s like all of the talented people from our cohort are gathered there. Once you let five whole members up, it’s basically a dream team…”
They all grumbled complaints.
“To begin with, why the hell did they place six of the top twelve over there.”
“Doug used to be there too, so it’s really seven. To compare we only have Gorms…”
That they were a “collection of losers” had a grain of truth to it.
And as if that wasn’t all, some information gathering with their seniors had led to some unwelcome news.
“They said that it isn’t true that the losers are gathered in our dorm but… apparently the coordinator for the Eastern Dormitory… When he was a knight apprentice, he lost three times in a row to the Northern Dormitory and has quite a grudge about it. Since then, he’s been snatching up the best talents for his one.
“Not only that, but for some reason, he’s weirdly fired up this year and wants us to suffer three defeats in a row…”
“What the hell!”
“He’s barking up the wrong fucking tree!”
Shouting began all across the room.
“And what the hell is our own dorm coordinator doing…”
“You know him. ‘What’s important is how hard you try once you get in.’ That’s why he’s…”
“So it’s just our bad luck…?”
By now, the boys had just about realised their situation.
“I mean, I get that the training we’re putting in now is just as important as anything, but… does that really mean they have to throw all the talented guys over in the Eastern Dorm…?”
“Honestly, it’s really only Gorms and Doug that have any chance.”
“Apparently our success rate is like 10%…”
“I hear we weren’t even supposed to know about it until now, but those guys got told in advance.”
“I bet they’ve been training for this.”
No matter how much further it was discussed, things still seemed bleak.
“Aahh… We’re done for… I so don’t wanna fight…”
“What if I get called a shame to all knights in front of my Captain or something…”
“I’ll pass on that, thanks…”
And so, the boys all continued slouching in despair.
But in one corner of the room, Gorms spat,
“Keh! Running scared before even fighting? You’re all fucking pathetic.”
Remié gave a troubled smile and tried to soften the blow.
“But I can understand how they feel. Lots of them train at the same dojos and have been in the same competition as those guys, so they know just how much stronger they are.”
The apprentice knights were certainly acting pathetic, but they had plenty of reason to.
For the students who went to the same dojos as the elite members of the Eastern Dormitory, training at the dojo gave them first-hand experience on the talent and skill of these swordsmen. As for those who had seen them fight in competitions, pretty much all their opponents were defeated without any chance of victory.
The boys of the Northern Dormitory had trained reasonably hard these past few months, but it was by no means enough to catch up to those elites.
“That doesn’t fucking mean I have to accept whatever those Eastern Dorm bastards want to say to me. I’m going there to win.”
“Yeah. We’ll help however we can.”
The three of them agreed with Gorms. Although neither Slad, Gheith, nor Remié had enough strength to win, they were still good, considerate kids.
“Yeah, cheers! I’d really appreciate that. Still, the first thing we gotta sort out is the participants.”
“Guys guys guys! How about me!?”
“Hm, Gheith is injured, so he can’t compete. That leaves one spot.”
“Sorry I couldn’t help…”
“No worries. We’ll make it somehow!”
To be honest, they wanted to gather everyone in the dorm and pick the best candidates, but nobody else wanted to compete.
That’s why they currently only had the enthusiastic Gorms and Doug, as well as the cooperative Remié and Slad. Because of Gheith’s injury, they were short one member.
Despite how willing they were, it was impossible without 5 members.
“Hey hey! Gorms! What about mee!?”
“What about Zerius? If we ask him, he’ll definitely agree.”
“Well… the day of the match is also his grandma’s birthday, so apparently he’s going back home…”
“Choosing your family over trying to impress the knight captains? As always, that guy is manly as fuck…”
“Gorms! Me! Mee!”
With no other choice, Gorms and the others could no longer ignore the mysterious voice…
The voice that was coming from a certain carefree face belonging to what seemed to be a small boy whose finger was pointed at himself…
The boy who was standing next to a rather nervous looking Doug…
Urged on by the silence, a grave-looking Gorms rubbed his temples before addressing Heath.
“Heath… You do understand your grades in sparring, right?”
“Yeah! I haven’t lost the last ten matches! That’s almost as good as you, I think?”
“I’ve never seen a more convenient interpretation! Your latest results were 2 wins, 10 losses and 33 draws! You’ve lost five times more than you’ve won!”
The sparring in the Northern Dormitories was done on a round robin system, and only Fii had such ridiculous results.
Because of the weird tricks she often used and her erratic dodges and counterattacks, her opponents found it incredibly difficult to finish the match. This was seen plainly in her results.
Incidentally, Doug’s record was 44 wins and 1 draw (his opponent was Fii), while Gorms came second at 44 wins and 1 loss (his opponent was Doug).
Fii’s records certainly was impressive in a manner of speaking, but unfortunately, her tactics weren’t viable in proper matches. As for why…
“It doesn’t matter in our spars because there’s no referee, but in a proper match, you’d be given a warning for showing no intention of attacking,” Remié explained. “You lose after two warnings, so I think it’d be pretty difficult for you.”
How Fii’s fight usually went was she would initially fight with her opponent, but once she felt the pressure, she would focus entirely on evasion. It was hardly unexpected, but going head-on with boys was a bit much for her body.
She was an expert in toying with others though…
“It’s fine! I’m going to try and win this time!” she declared as she confidently thumped her chest.
“Just where the hell do you get your confidence from…” sighed Gorms.
Unfortunately, the fact was that they had few alternatives.
“Oi! We’ve got one spot left! Any of you gunna fight!?” he roared back at his dormmates.
“Aaah! My sword…! Where’s my sword gone!?”
“Uwahh, not again… I don’t wanna be beaten down in three seconds once again…”
“A light… I can see a light…”
Gorms was met only with despairing moans. Apparently a lot of them were traumatised from their experiences with the Eastern elites.
Faced with these pathetic boys, all Gorms could do was sigh in resignation.
“No choice…! Just do your best, Heath!”
Fii jumped into the air in delight.