Episode 7

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VOLUME 1

Season 2, Episode 7

Episode 7:

Cheers erupted from the other end of the grounds.

Nadeshiko’s palanquin made its grand appearance. It was a marvellous concoction, nearly taking away the breath of every last boy watching.

Strong, meaty men wearing yellow safety vests gave a uniform half turn before throwing themselves down onto the mat before her.

Nadeshiko got up and daintily stepped into the ring.

Why that little – Here were the heads of various famous martial arts schools, prostrating themselves before her, whereas she herself stood in all her grandeur, barely breaking a sweat.

Shun had never met someone as conceited in his life.

Still, he could not deny that she’d done a good job with… this.

Considering that she only had about one an hour to put all of this together, with the ring as the centre, and seats expanding outwards in the shape of a colosseum, she really outdid herself.

The whole thing looked extremely professional, with the Newspaper Club chipping in to hand out pamphlets about the anticipated rematch.

Clearing her throat, Nadeshiko got ready to make her announcement.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for your patience – well, not really, considering that I only took an hour to get ready, but no big deal!”

She threw a sidelong glance at Shun and Rosalie, before continuing.

“I thought I’d just have a little bit of fun before we began, you know, just for some warm ups. I’m sure by now, all of you have received the notification that I sent out earlier, saying that if this girl –“

Cue glance at Rosalie.

“ –If this girl here beats me, she can marry whomsoever she wishes to. This will serve to make the match more interesting, as I think you can all testify to, by your overwhelming number in attendance. I am such a genius to have thought of and arranged all this, am I not? Which hot blooded male here would not like to have my hand in marriage? Am I right, students, or am I right?”

Covering her mouth with the back of her hand, she threw back her head in wild fits of laughter.

Climbing onto the ring, Nadeshiko’s followers, known as the Red Star Lily Squad by the other students, grabbed the prostrated men and heaped them onto the stretchers. Then, they proceeded to carry them out of the ring.

Man, those girls sure were strong. Well, no surprise there though, seeing as they all belonged to Nadeshiko’s own martial arts club, who lived by the rule – the Stars above are inexorably linked to my body.

“Well then Shun, I’ll be going now.”

With a parting look at Shun, Rosalie stepped into the ring amidst claps, cheers and catcalls.

The crowd sure was heating up fast. Things were rather different today compared to how they’d usually be, and the fact that lessons were cancelled for this already made the students happy beyond belief. To them, this was a lucky break, and an interesting one at that.

Shaking his head, Shun made his way to the second seat and plunked his butt down.

Coming up next to him, Sora sat down on his right.

“Let’s hope that this fight will not bring about a showy conclusion.”

“I’ve already told her to lay off the magic.”

“Thank you. We wouldn’t want her to notice anything strange should everyone start talking if she uses her magic.”

“Got it.”

Strangely, Sora was still wearing her cat ears when she was discussing about this issue with Shun.

Hmm… Seems like she broke her own little rule here.

Uehara approached Shun next, and sat down on his left.

“Hey, there’s something I’d like to ask you about later.”

“Huh…?”

“It’s about that girl, the Rosalie cosplayer.”

Looking up upon the ring, it seemed that Uehara suspected something.

A stern looking referee (one of the Red Star Lily Squad members) stood between Rosalie and Nadeshiko.

This was a fight to the death, literally. Lethal moves were allowed and there was no time limit. The referee seemed to only be there to count the knockouts and forfeits.

Well, it’d be alright as long as Rosalie finished this up with a quick, one-hit KO. Shun took a deep breath as Nadeshiko walked towards her red corner.

Rosalie, not having known the rules of a match as such, had to be led to the green corner by the referee.

A gong sounded.

“Frenzy of the Seven Sisters!”

Nadeshiko was the first to launch her attack, lunging forward on one foot while attempting to knee Rosalie in the face.

Even black belt masters would find it hard to block a kick like that. It was sudden, and fast –

Rosalie stepped towards one side, neatly dodging her attack.

What a quickstep indeed. The audience could barely breathe as they trained their eyes on the two fighters.

Nadeshiko’s eyes widened in shock. That must have been a first. Still though, her pride was at stake. Time for the next attack.

Changing her balance in midair, Nadeshiko swung her left leg backwards in the fashion of a roundhouse kick.

Again, Rosalie dodged it.

Turning to face Rosalie, Nadeshiko continued to attack aggressively with her kicks.

Rosalie blocked them all.

At this point, Nadeshiko had somehow gotten closer to Rosalie. Grinning triumphantly, she grabbed Rosalie’s head in deadlock and lifted her left leg to knee her.

Rosalie simply reacted by grabbing hold of Rosalie’s other foot, and swiftly pulling her forward.

That force sent Nadeshiko flying.

Crashing none too gently into the ropes on the other end, Nadeshiko managed to regain some of her balance, and at the last second, did a backflip and bounded back to the other side of the ring. Executing a double summersault in midair, Nadeshiko landed on her knees. Right in front of Rosalie.

The crowd went wild.

Nadeshiko’s face was livid.

She couldn’t believe it. Any other opponent she had faced had gone down in three moves. They had never been able to withstand her, had never been able to win her.

And now, here was someone she couldn’t win. The difference in skill level between them was so overwhelming in fact, that Nadeshiko herself could barely catch up.

It was impossible, and yet –

“Who are you?”

“I am a warrior.”

“I am a warrior.”

Rosalie’s answer came out strong and unwavering, to the cheers of the crowd below. Shun could still see the both of them talking on the ring above, but even from where he was, the noise of the crowd was loud enough to drown out their conversation.

“A warrior…?”

“Yes.”

Nadeshiko, who had not a whit of interest in games, fortunately, did not react adversely to her answer.

“And what does this warrior thing of yours, have to do with Kanda Shun?”

“…Are you talking about Shun here?”

“Well, do we know of any other person called Shun?”

“I am Shun’s bride. We have yet to wed, but I know for sure that one day, we will.”

Rosalie lifted her arms to block against Nadeshiko’s high kick.

“…It couldn’t be that you actually like that unattractive, talentless freak, could it?”

“Shun and I, we are joined by fate.”

Rosalie could really be quite assertive when she wanted to.

“He was always with me, has always been by my side.”

A hint of pride coloured her voice. She was so happy.

“What rubbish!”

In a flash, Nadeshiko crouched down, her actions seeming to have increased in speed.

That took Rosalie off guard. She was a split second slower to react.

“Solid Saturn!”

This time, Nadeshiko managed to push Rosalie face down onto the mat as she crouched down behind her, holding her hands tight.

Rosalie immediately tried to get up, but somehow she couldn’t move.

Nadeshiko had her hand pressed onto the back of Rosalie’s neck, holding her in a vulnerable position, while the other hand kept a lockdown on her wrist.

Rosalie was effectively caught in a deadlock.

“There has to be a limit to how much you can handle!”

As if trying to test Rosalie’s limits, Nadeshiko pushed down harder onto the vital point behind her neck.

Shit was about to get serious.

Rosalie put in even more strength as she struggled to escape.

One tug, and Nadeshiko was sent flying.

”What brute strength!”

Nadeshiko was forced to admit so. Her previous attack though had not gone to waste. Her smug smile seemed to show that she finally understood something about Rosalie.

On the other side of the ring, Rosalie looked confused.

“How can it be? Nadeshiko isn’t just at level 10?”

This was probably the first time that her guess had been off.

“I still have to beat her though.”

Shrugging her shoulders, Rosalie got her head back into the game.

Squaring off with Nadeshiko, Rosalie gave an almighty kick to the floor of the ring as the force propelled her towards Nadeshiko. Stretching out her hand, Rosalie appeared ready to hit Nadeshiko with the flat of her hand when –

“The isolated comet!”

Crack.

The moment Rosalie’s hand came into contact with Nadeshiko, a twist of her wrist had Rosalie falling hard behind her.

More cheers erupted.

Even Shun, who knew next to nothing about martial arts, could somehow guess that Nadeshiko had just employed an Aikido move, which turned the opponent’s strength against themselves.

Standing up, Rosalie seemed even more stunned.

“…W-What was that? How is it that you would know how –?”

Her reaction was akin to that of what normal people would react should they see someone perform magic right in front of their eyes.

She really couldn’t believe it.

Lunging at Nadeshiko again, she decided to test it out one more time.

Nadeshiko could just barely react to this one, as she threw Rosalie down onto the steps of the ring.

“Just as I thought!”

Nadeshiko was breathing hard, but she couldn’t resist the urge to gloat at the fallen Rosalie.

“You have no conception whatsoever of martial arts! Your movements are that of an amateur – nay, you’re actually worse than an amateur. You’re a complete beginner at this.”

Upon hearing this, something clicked in Shun’s mind.

It was no wonder that Rosalie couldn’t react to Nadeshiko’s attacks. In the world of Dragon Bless, martial arts did not even exists. To Rosalie, this stuff was all brand new, just like eating.

The art of fighting, which had been passed down from generation to generation in the human world, was utterly foreign to Rosalie. Shun could imagine her terror when faced with an enemy who excelled in something that she didn’t even know about.

That had to be why she couldn’t attack.

“What is this? I-It’s not magic, but –“

Nadeshiko’s grating laughter sounded aloud.

“The real fight starts now! From here on out, stand in awe of my gorgeous –“

“I cannot lose here.”

Rosalie was glowing, literally. Her sword had found a way into her hand as bright beautiful lights played on her face. This was the secret move of the warrior princess Rosalie, the divine sword “Kraus Soras”.

“Rosalie!”

Staring straight ahead, Rosalie gave no indication that she heard Shun calling her.

“Until the day comes where I defeat the demon king, Gúrgor Väha, and finally obtain world peace, I cannot be defeated in battle.”

Shit, she was getting confused.

Here and there, Shun could hear the students whispering furiously amongst themselves.

It might have been broad daylight, but the light emanating from Rosalie still shone as brightly as a fallen star.

“Is this some sort of trick?”

No, what you guys are witnessing is undoubtedly a real miracle.

“No way man, that can’t be – “

There’s no hiding it now.

Shun buried his face into his hands.

“Are we actually looking at the real thing here?”

“Hey, hey, this looks kind of dangerous!”

“We’d better get going!”

And with that, one after another, the students stood up and ran off, finding an open space in the ground that seemed safe from the impending attack.

“Hey, Kanda.”

Uehara caught hold of Shun, and uttered in barely a whisper,

“I’m going to ask you something really stupid now, okay?”

On his other side, Sora gave an audible sigh.

“I really hate you, Kanda-san.”

Taking off her cat ears, she launched into action.

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Her phone was her weapon of choice this time as she tapped furiously on the buttons.

Could she really be texting at this point of time?

“Well, since I’m going to have to write a letter of apology for this anyway, I might as well actually act like the intergalactic agent I am.”

And then, she hit ‘send’.

Shun followed her gaze.

What in the world did she do? It was just a phone and –

No way!

Clusters of shining signs shone brightly in the sky. Huge, word-like signs.

Miraculously, only Shun and Sora seemed able to see it.

The signs shone spotlights of rectangles onto the ground, as it gradually lit up from left to right.

Shun watched as they grew brighter, before finally disappearing.

And then –

“Ah, there’s no need to ask you after all!”

Uehara gave a disbelieving little snort of laughter.

“You know, things like ‘Rosalie having jumped out of the game into real life’, they’re really just too impossible, huh? Did you rig this stuff up, Kanda? If so, you’re seriously amazing!”

Huh?

But Uehara wasn’t the only one.

“Hah! This has to be a trick!”

“Yeah, I mean, if you think about it logically.”

“Someone, ask that foreign kid about this later, you get me? And that Kanda guy too!”

The whole atmosphere had changed. All the students, who had been panicking just a while back, were now acting all cynical and unamused.

“That’s the best that I can do.”

Pocketing her phone, Sora turned to face Shun.

“I’ve done my part. The rest is up to you.”

“What do you mean, ‘the rest’?”

Sora gestured towards the stage.

Rosalie had finished charging, as she held out her sword, Kraus Soras’s signature ‘hand of silver’ blatantly screaming out its presence.

“Kraus Soras” was an extremely high-level attack that would cause 1000 points damage to the enemy, regardless of the circumstances. Just a few days ago, fighter jets were smashed to bits when the attack hit them. Shun really didn’t want to find out what would happen should the same attack hit Nadeshiko.

“Rosalie! Rosalie!”

Amidst the confusion, his voice didn’t reach her.

Shun stood up, resolutely heading towards the steps up to the ring.

“Stop that idiot!”

Nadeshiko barked out an order to the Red Star Lily squad.

“I-I will win!”

The words came out strong and confident, but if Shun tried, he could hear a slight tremor in her voice that hadn’t been there before.

The light was so strong now that it nearly blinded Shun. The pressure was overwhelming, more than it had ever been in-game.

Surely, Nadeshiko could feel it too.

He wondered if she had enough guts to back out and run or if –

“I will not lose to some mere girl like you! You, who is just a – “

Great. Of all things, she had to have enough pride to stand her ground.

Why?!

“Start running! What are you still doing standing there? Rosalie! Can you hear me, Rosalie?!”

Effectively trapped by the Red Star Lily squad, Shun looked around, hoping to find something of help.

The other students, who had now been brainwashed, were sitting there, chatting nonchalantly about the match. Sora had mysteriously disappeared, and there seemed to be no one else –

Found it!

Shun’s eyes alighted on that little something at the corner of the stadium.

Flinging his captors off, shouting his assurance that he would not step up on the ring, Shun made a dash for the thing.

Meanwhile, Rosalie had entered the activation stance.

Nadeshiko, ever the reckless challenger, also looked prepared to execute her next move.

I hope this works.

Picking it up, Shun gave an almighty swing –

“Kraus Sora –“

Flump.

Tome the fluffy dog landed on Rosalie’s head, it’s round tummy blocking her line of sight.

Rosalie, who was literally one syllable away from launching her attack, started to tremble all over.

And then, the nose bleed came.

There was so much blood, that Tome, painted red, looked like a failed attempt at hara-kiri.

As if the first time wasn’t bad enough.

Letting rip a howl of horror, Tome jumped and shot off like a bullet into the great unknown of the school grounds.

Silver light having been successfully replaced with crimson blood, Rosalie gave chase. The match could go off itself.

And Nadeshiko?

As soon as Rosalie was out of sight, she crumbled and fell.

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