In the magic proving grounds the match’s start came later than Luecke and Eunius’. The reason being the time it took to repair, and the surprising number of people that gathered. The fact that Fina also chose to watch Rudel’s match was another reason for the late start. And the reason an explosion resounded from the magic grounds to the arena. It was naturally because of the two locked in battle
“Get serious against me, Rudel!”
From Aleist’s shadow, something similar to a black liquid squirmed around, changing shape to come at Rudel. At times a sword, at times a spear, it took on various shapes.
“Aleist… why are you…”
And as Aleist’s black weapons stabbed into the ground, they would raise explosions. The cause of the larger explosion lay in that his power suddenly ran rampant. To Rudel, it looked almost as if Aleist was being swung around by his own power. As this was the magic proving ground, the casualties weren’t great. More than that, everyone was uninjured.
But the special walls protecting the spectators had all been destroyed.
“You… um aren’t you forgetting to conceal it?”
Right, Aleist was getting too high strung, and normally he would have concealed it. He had exposed his characteristics as a black knight before a crowd. As ill fate would have it, it was a stage the second princess Fina was watching.
After the large explosion, when the smoke had cleared up, the former goddess cried out. Izumi to her side was surprised at her reaction.
“I-I just remembered. I remembered, Izumi! If Aleist keeps at it like this, he’ll run out of control!”
“What do you mean by that? It’s true that Aleist has always been a little strange, but I don’t think he’ll go on a rampage.”
“Black knight! Aleist is a black knight!”
Izumi couldn’t understand the former goddess’ cry. It was here that the secrecy of the black knight class was rearing his head. Those around only thought Aleist was using a special sort of magic. At the sudden events, the teachers were late to respond.
To the two of them came Fina with her high knights. Her face was expressionless, but her tone was serious.
“Black knight… tell me the details.”
“T-the strange woman came outtt!”
While the former goddess was fearful of Fina, Rudel and Aleist’s battle continued. A state of Aleist on the offense, and Rudel on the defense carried on
The surrounding students were excited by a fight they had never seen before, and didn’t even try to run. But at this fight they had never seen before, the teachers felt a sense of crisis. They thought to evacuate the place at once, or to suspend the match. But there were few teachers, and the excited students wouldn’t hear them out.
Izumi and the others asked the former goddess about Aleist and Rudel. Once she finished her explanation on the events of the temple and the reason Aleist was training his martial arts, Fina looked at the fighting two.
“This is bad.”
(Bad, really bad! When it comes to black knights, they’re a title with meaning to the royal line. Yet that guy became a black knight… you think I can push him onto my sister?)
As the black knight was a knight with special meaning, Fina knew he would probably be taken into the royal family or palace. But if that happeneed, it would make it even harder to get her hands on Rudel. As the second princess, she was a much more likely candidate for the black knight’s hand than Aileen.
“Princess, this place is dangerous. We should evacuate…”
On Sophina’s words, Fina voiced approval. But the former goddess alone proposed they stop the two. The reason was simple. If the white and black knights completely awakened to their abilities, they would run out of control. Remembering the brothers who awoke to their powers, the former goddess who had seen their rampage’s face turned pale.
Back when she was a goddess, her body was half-transparent and she had no physical essence. But now her body existed. That was more than enough for the former goddess to realize the danger.
“More importantly, go stop those two. If both of them awaken, they’ll go on a rampage, and something terrible will… this whole place will be destroyed.”
Everyone lent a glance to the fight of Rudel and Aleist. There, Fina looked at the formed goddess and spoke.
“You tell us to stop that?”
(You incompetent! On top of keeping quiet up to now, you want us to stop those two? That’s impossible, fooool!!! This strange black thing is stretching and explosion, and it’s all muddy and gross. To be able to fight against that, master is quite a monster himself.)
“We have to stop them! Otherwise they’ll both run amuck!”
Sophina wanted to evacuate Fina alone, but she held a question at the ‘both’ part. And everyone around began to notice… she was talking about Rudel.
“Rudel’s also a black knight!?”
As Izumi panicked, the former goddess cried out. Cried out so loudly that everyone in the general area ended up hearing her words.
“As. I. Was. Saying! Rudel is the white knight, and Aleist is the black knight!”
The audience had noticed that Rudel and Aleist’s battle was abnormal, and thier excitement was dying down. The cry came just as the area had grown quiet, and the former goddess’ voice resounded all throughout the magic proving grounds.
“You stupid disciple, you’ve sure done it now.”
(Oy, oy! When it comes to the white knight, he’s even dicier than the black knight… why can’t master live a quiet life of the fluff? You make me sad… leaving the jokes aside, you shouted something so important here, you bloody incompetent!!!)
Avoiding darkness in the shape of a sword, Rudel channeled mana into his wooden sword to cut through Aleist’s magic that flew his way. A black something and magic attacks put Rudel on a one-sided defense. That black something in the shape of weapons… that darkness, whether he blocked or parried, it would simply explode. A troublesome thing to no ends.
“I can win, with this I can beat you… I can win against Rudel!”
By gaining confidence in himself, Aleist was growing bolder, and just as the former goddess said, he was beginning to go on a rampage. Rudel dealt with the attacks coming at him, but inside, his concentration was taking a cut. His awakening as a white knight was being dragged out by the black knight Aleist.
(I’m going to lose? I, when I’m supposed to become a dragoon!? I can’t let such a thing come to pass! Even if I discard everything, I have to be the strongest… I have to become the strongest dragoon!!!)
An emotion welling up from his depths, Rudel was being swallowed up without even noticing it. They wanted to win. That was the wish of both sides. And as the two began to be swallowed by the power birthed from doubt, the forces of the white and black knights were drawn out. Their actions paying no heed to surrounding eyes made it almost seem the spectators were completely irrelevant.
By that influence, the shockwaves of their match reached all the way to the audience seats. All the things they had been mindful of to that point, now it all seemed so inconsequential… it was all for victory, it was all for dreams…
Light gathered in Rudel’s left hand and forming the shape of a bolt, he fired it at Aleist. As the bolt of light clashed with Aleist’s darkness, it let off an intense explosion.
“That’s right! Come at me for real, Rudel!”
And this time he sent a consecutive stream of light bolts from his left hand. That downpour of bullets met Aleist’s dark weapons in an intense clash. And Rudel’s pseudo magic sword let off a radiant light as it sublimated into a magic sword of the truest sense. Coinciding with that, Aleist’s magic sword wrapped his own wood sword in what seemed to be black flames.
As the two wood swords met, the sound they gave of had no semblance of what should come from wood hitting wood. The violent clash of mana let off a din close to an explosion accompanied by thunder.
Both sides used their magic to elevate their physical abilities, rampaging to levels beyond their own control. Sensing the danger, the teachers and staff tried to evacuate the students at once. They evacuated, but as progress slowed to a halt around the sole entrance, many students still remained in the magic proving ground.
“With this, I’m number one… I’ll become number onnnee!!!”
Cried Aleist, but the trail of his sword could never catch Rudel. It couldn’t, but the shockwave it produced destroyed the wall and the hastily prepared benches.
Judging that he wasn’t getting anywhere like this, Rudel ignored the darkness coming at him, approached Aleist and hammered in his sword. The sword driven in could no longer stand, both blades disintegrating simultaneously. So the fight switched into martial arts, and as there were no problems with Aleist’s skills at this point, he confidently went on the offense.
Both boys were too excited to even think of defense. It was the same fist fight they had carried out two years before, but now there lay a hint of madness. A fist clad in darkness, and a fist wrapped in light collided, sending both of them flying. As both rose to their feet, the referee teacher issued a loud proclamation of the match’s suspension.
“Stop it, both of you! The match is suspended, you’re both disqualified!!!”
“… That so.”
Hearing that, the two of them gave broad. They could understand by the look in their eyes that the other was thinking the same. Rudel and Aleist amassed their greatest magic on their arms, ignoring the referee and continuing the match. They had already long stopped thinking about some tournament.
All that crossed their minds was how to defeat the bastard before their eyes.
Alongside a number of high knights, Sophina protected the students from the aftermath of Rudel and Aleist’s attacks. But the princess Fina insisted that she be the last one to evacuate. At the end of her eyes lay the battle of Rudel and Aleist.
While Fina had been keeping quiet, she suddenly cried out. They turned in surprise to her voice, and it was just as the two had ignored the referee’s words to restart their match.
Light gathered in Rudel’s two arms, while darkness gathered around Aleist’s. The mana they could sense was enormous. Sensing the danger, she called out to cover the students, and the high knights tried to protect them with barriers of magic.
“Sophina, you help out too! That won’t be enough to stop it…”
(I thought that knowledge was completely useless… I guess the palace manual does come in handy, from time to time.)
Fina recalled the legends of the Black and White Knights she had been told from her childhood. She thought they were lies, but seeing the scenes unfold before her eyes, she had no choice but to believe. The palace had passed down the knowledge of how to prepare against a white and black knight.
Thinking back to it, Fina could feel those two were going to let out their strongest attacks. Giving up on evacuation, they could only endure it where they stood.
“Captain! Aleist-dono is…!”
Turning her gaze back to the two at her subordinate’s words, Sophina regretted letting turning her attention to Fina for a moment. The black darkness Aleist had pulled out the start had taken on a snake-like shape as it assailed the surroundings. Several dozens of black oversized serpents were destroying the magic proving ground and the area around it.
Rudel avoided and tried to get in an attack in the gap this grandiose technique had made.
It was at that moment that a single serpent made its way towards Fina. That snake that headed towards Izumi and the rest of Rudel’s acquaintances watching the match was beginning to multiply in numbers.
“Don’t run, Rudell!!!”
Aleist couldn’t properly control the black snakes. What’s more, he wasn’t looking at the surrounding situation. You could say the same was true for Rudel who he fought. Ignoring all around him, Rudel thought of nothing but defeating Aleist, and at the moment Aleist showed an opening, he thought he had a chance of winning.
“This is the end, Aleist!”
(I’ll win this. I’ll win and become the strongest dragoon…!)
While Rudel rejoiced within, his eyes chanced upon the black snake attacking Izumi and the others behind Aleist. After a moment of hesitation, Rudel chose to prioritize defeating Aleist over whatever was going on.
(There are high knights there, so it’s not a problem. No, more than that, I must aim to be a dragoon! Everything else is unnecessary to me! All of it, all of it is unnecessary!!!)
‘Why are you lying to me?’
(… At a time like this…!)
In that instant, the best opportunity he had to attack Aleist, Rudel recalled his little sister Lena’s words. He wavered and mulled… Rudel didn’t have that sort of time to spare, but his body was already reacting to the words recalled. He reacted, and as the course of action he could take floated up in his head, Rudel cried out.
What he had found in the documents, the White Knight’s characteristic shield of light… Rudel imagined it.
“… Shield of light, protect them…!!!”
While he had changed from offense to defense, Rudel was ironically left defenseless. Seeing that, Aleist mercilessly struck him down with a black snake.
“It’s my win!”
The black snake coming at them vanished after it was blocked by the shield of light. Witnessing that scene, Izumi was unable to understand what had happened, but she sent a glance in Rudel’s direction.
Looking around, as if to protect the other students in a similar manage, several dozens of shields were floating in the air of the magic proving grounds. Those shields each larger than a single person had completely shut in the black snakes. But sealed in with them, Rudel was assailed by the darkness.
Convinced of his victory, Aleist laughed and erased the snakes; the shields of light disappeared alongside them. Rudel was on the ground while Aleist stood. From just a glance, it looked like Aleist was the winner, but the both of them had been disqualified. This match was also a draw… no, in the first place, the individuals’ tournament was put on hold.
Within the academy’s lengthy history, it was the first tournament to fail to come out with a victor.
Ignoring Aleist’s grand laugh, Izumi raced over to Rudel. Digging out his half-rubble-buried body, she held him up and confirmed he was still breathing. The relief caused her tears to come out, and once those tears hit his face, Rudel opened his eyes.
“Ah… looks like I failed again.”
“You idiot, why did you do something like that, Rudel!?”
Perhaps Rudel’s consciousness wasn’t clear as he didn’t know what he was supposed to response. That’s why…
“When I tried to throw away everything, I just couldn’t… my little sister’s going to scold me.”
After saying just that, Rudel lost consciousness again. Izumi embraced Rudel, and seeing that, Aleist regained his sanity. Seeing Rudel and the surrounding situation, he sat as if to hold himself.
“I-I never intended to… this isn’t what I…”
The teachers gathered to subdue him, and they tried to take away Rudel as well. He had caused such a problem. Punishment was only natural. But there, Fina held back the teachers.
“Do not lay a hand on those two. Carry them to the infirmary, and await orders from the palace.”
“But princess! After they’ve done so…”
“I am not saying this from the standing of a student. I am giving an order as Fina, the second princess of this country… call the headmaster.”
And like that, their identities as the White and Black Knights were exposed to the palace.