Author’s note: Hey guys, it’s been a while. Sorry for the absence, I had a family emergency and was really stressed out because of it. I just couldn’t find it in me to sit down and write anything. I really appreciate those who reached out to me and asked how I was doing, and I also want to thank those who continued to support me and my work. I am doing much better now, and I will continue the releases with much more vigor than before. Again, thank you.
“Damn, Rebecca’s late…” I say, looking at the time on my phone.
Should I call her again?
[Man, you just called her a while ago— she said she’s on her way. Just wait for a few more minutes.]
Alright… but I hope she gets here soon. The tournament is about to start, and I need to be there. Just look at this—
I gesture at the nearly empty grounds and the roaring stadium. It’s the final day of the tournament, and even though it’s happening much earlier than expected, a lot of people have come to watch it.
There are only three duels today and at the very least, I am in one of them. There isn’t much time to spare…
Finally, after a minute or two, I see a familiar outline of a woman appearing at the end of the street. Looking closely, I can tell that it’s Rebecca. Wearing light make-up and a knee-length pink skirt, she looks more beautiful than ever.
But, as usual, the only thing that’s blemishing her beauty is the fearful look on her face— which is further intensified by the fact that it’s almost rush hour.
Nothing scares Rebecca more than the possibility of being in a crowded place. The only reason why she is even here is because I asked her to come. Honestly, I am rather touched by the fact that she agreed to my request so readily— even though I didn’t tell her why.
Fortunately, though, there’s no one on the street just yet. She doesn’t need to fear hitting someone with her barrier.
A smile finally blooms on Rebecca’s face as she sees me. Once again making sure that no one’s around her, she quickly jogs towards me, jumping into my arms.
“I made it!” she says, looking quite happy and relieved.
“Yes, you did,” I say, giving her a peck on the lips.
“So, why did you call me here, Jacob? Does it have something to do with your system? Do you have to make love to a blonde in school?” she asks half-jokingly.
“Well, would you do it with me if it is the case?” I ask, raising my eyebrows.
“Why do you think I am here?” she answers with a playful wink.
“Hehe… Well, no, I do not need to fuck a blonde in school. You see, today is the final day of the Magic tournament— and I really want you to watch it with everyone,” I say with a grin.
The smile on Rebecca’s face fades, getting replaced by a gloomy look instead.
“You know I cannot do that,” She says in a tiny voice, looking away.
“Well, you can. Just give me your hand,” I say, reaching out.
Looking a bit confused, Rebecca places her hand on top of mine. I immediately take out the silver ring Naomi gave me and start putting it on Rebecca’s finger.
“J-Jacob?” she says, her voice faltering and her cheeks getting flushed. “Isn’t this a bit too early for us?”
“No, I don’t mean it like that! See? I am putting it on the index finger, not the ring one,” I say hastily.
“Oh…” Rebeca breathes out, looking slightly disappointed.
“Anyway, is this a gift? I really love the carvings around it!” She asks, getting excited again.
“Yup, it’s a gift. But mind, it’s not just a simple silver ring— it’s very special. At my request, Naomi, the white fox goddess, has herself infused it with magic. While you’re wearing this ring, your Poison will be greatly suppressed and you can get close to people again— albeit, only for around 4-5 hours a day, unless you decide to level up,” I tell her, unable to hold back any longer.
“Are you… Are you serious, Jacob?” she asks quietly, looking utterly stunned.
“Yup. You know I won’t joke about something like this,” I say earnestly, rubbing her shoulders.
Rebecca’s gaze shifts between my face and the ring. A moment later, her hands start trembling and her lips get parted.
“I-I… I am…”
Even her voice sounds quite shaky. It seems like she wants to say something, but is completely lost for words.
Suddenly, my phone starts ringing. Taking it out of my pocket, I notice that the call is from Kate.
“Jacob! Where the heck are you!?” She says the moment I answer the phone, sounding very urgent.
“Near the school gates. Why, is my duel about to start?” I ask with a frown.
“About to start!? The whole stadium is waiting for you! If you don’t reach the arena within five minutes, they will disqualify you!” she tells me.
“Wait, wasn’t Princess Leena supposed to have her duel first!?” I ask in panic.
“Yeah, but her duel didn’t even last a minute. She won. Now, hurry up and come!”
I end the call, stuffing back my phone into the pocket.
“Shit… Come on, Rebecca! We need to hurry. I am late for my duel,” I say, grabbing Rebecca’s hand and starting to run towards the stadium.
“But— But, Jacob…”
“Sorry, we will talk after my duel is over,” I say apologetically.
Rebecca gives me a nod, trying to keep up with my pace.
We hurriedly reach the stadium, climb up the stairs, and enter the stands. I take a quick moment to look around and spot where Kate and others are sitting before rushing towards them.
“Girls, make room for Rebecca! See you in a bit, everyone!” I say, leaving Rebecca with the rest of my women before heading to the arena.
“Rebecca!? What the—!?”
Even amidst the noisy crowd, I can hear Layla’s shocked voice. She’s one of the few people who know about Rebecca’s Poison, and thus, she definitely didn’t expect her to be here.
“Late! You’re are very late, Jacob!” As I enter the waiting area, a very angry-looking Miss Laura (my class teacher) receives me.
“Sorry, ma’am. Something came up,” I say nervously.
“Well, learn to be a bit more punctual. Off you go, then.”
She swiftly scribbles something on her notepad before stepping aside and letting me enter the arena.
“Oh! Jacob has finally arrived, everyone! That too, just a minute before he was about to be disqualified!” The commentator announces as he notices me, making the crowd start cheering again.
My opponent is already waiting for me in the arena, their super thick arms folded, and a furious look on their brick-like face.
“How dare you make me wait, bastard!? I am so angry right now! You may have defeated two princesses, but I am not planning to go down without avenging my boyfriend! Remember? I promised to crush you if we ever get to duel together. And here we are…” she says, flexing her muscles at me.
“Yeah, sure. Avenge that idiot all you want,” I say, rolling my eyes.
Yes, as shocking as it may sound, my opponent in the semi-finals is not an Elf or a Beastkin, but a fellow human; Debbie Sherman. But unlike me, she’s didn’t reach here by winning through the quarter-finals. She basically just got lucky.
You see, due to my victory against Ilyrana in the first round, all the people in my group automatically moved up to the quarter-finals. But well, those who set the fixture clearly didn’t expect any of the princesses to lose, which resulted in having an odd number of people in the quarter-finals. And thus, they had to give one of the participants a “Bye” (as well as add a few more matches and stuff). The selection was random, and Debbie was the one who got it.
Well, to be completely honest, the whole mess was pretty weird and even I don’t really understand how Debbie ended up in the semi-finals. I don’t think she should have.
“Anyway, we have both the contestants in the arena! Without any further delay, let’s start the final round of the semi-finals!” the commentator says.
“Jacob and Debbie, get ready for the duel! Three… Two… One… Start!”
Immediately, Debbie bends down, touching the ground with her fists.
“Earth gauntlet!” she shouts.
The next moment, tiny stones along with dirt start rising from the ground, sticking to Debbie’s fist. And in no time, her hands get covered in a thick layer of earth.
“Here I come!”
Once her gauntlets are completely formed, Debbie starts running towards me at full speed— her fists held back, ready to punch my face the moment she gets close enough.
This is the thing I was talking about— Debbie’s strange style of dueling. She doesn’t primarily depend upon magic to attack her opponent. Instead, she makes use of her extraordinary physical strength. And through these so-called “Earth Gauntlets”, she gets excused for doing so in a magical tournament.
This is the reason why she was undefeated in the mock duels. People get scared shitless by seeing such a giant mass of muscles running towards them, and they forget to even defend themselves. In reality, I think it’s quite easy to defeat her if you just remain calm.
Well, let’s start…
I crack my knuckles before thrusting out my hand.
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