Life.4 The Game Begins!
<<Now, it’s time for the third match of the Rating Game World Tournament [Azazel Cup]’s main draw. The Rating Game between [Oppai Dragon] and [Switch Princess] which will begin shortly!>>
[Oppai Dragon! Oppai Dragon!]
As the commentator held the mic, the crowd started to shout our names. The whole stadium looked very energetic. We, the members of the [Sekiryuutei of the Blazing Truth] team were waiting at the passage before the gate to the stage. Everyone had gotten so used to participating in a game that not even one of us was nervous as we relaxed while waiting for the match to begin. Rias’s team must be waiting at the other gate. Ravel checked her pocket watch.
“Ise-sama, Rias-sama’s team will enter the stage soon.”
This was a stadium built in the castle town of the Gremory territory. It’s only natural for the next head of the Gremory household, Rias, to enter the stage first.
<<Well then, everyone. —The participants will enter the stage shortly. From the stage entrance gate, here comes our Princess! The next head of the Gremory household! Team [Rias Gremory] led by Rias Gremory-senshu!>>
[Princess Rias! Princess Rias!]
The spectators were all fired up! Being regarded as a princess to those living in the Gremory territory, as well as the fact that she was the Switch Princess, meant that there was no one who didn’t know her. On top of that, she was also very famous for being the younger sister of Maou Sirzechs Lucifer.
There were also some who called for Kiba and Koneko-chan. As always, the handsome guy and Koneko-chan sure were famous. I guess it’s also because they appeared as characters in [Oppai Dragon]. —After Rias’s team entered the stage, it was our turn now.
<<Sorry to have kept you waiting. Is everyone on the stage ready? Now, it’s the entrance of the team that Oppai Dragon Hyoudou Issei leads, [Sekiryuutei of the Blazing Truth]!>>
The [Oppai Dragon Song] played along with the announcement! The song had become an iconic song that was played every time I walked onto a stage! Well, it’s my song, so I guess it’s okay!
[Oppai Dragon! Oppai Dragon! Oppai Dragon! Oppai Dragon! Oppai Dragon! Oppai Dragon! Oppai Dragon! Oppai Dragon!]
The spectators were calling out for me. There were many children’s voices. I said to my team members,
“Well then, even though our opponent is Rias, let’s not hold back and win!”
Following their response,
We then entered the stage as well.In the centre of the stadium field, both teams lined up facing each other. After this, the teams would get transported to their own respective HQs, and then the game would officially start. Well, it’s your usual Rating Game. Before the game started, we shook hands with the opponent team before us. Well, me being the King meant that I’d shake hands with Rias. She smiled boldly as we exchanged a handshake.
I also answered with a brave face.
“Yeah. May the best one win.”
The arbiter then stood between us and said to everyone on the stage.
<<All right. The third match of the main draw, team [Rias Gremory] vs team [Sekiryuutei of the Blazing Truth], game start!>>
Following that signal, both teams got enveloped in the transportation light—.
As I opened my eyes — I couldn’t believe what I saw. The place we were transported to was very unexpected! It was the entrance of the Hyoudou Residence! It looked like everyone was also surprised by the destination that they looked around the house as they thought that there had to be some kind of a mistake. However, no matter how you looked at it, it’s the Hyoudou Residence!
“Let’s investigate this quickly.”
Xenovia and Irina went around the house to investigate. There’s only one thing I could think of looking at the situation. I said to Ravel.
“This means that our HQ is our house, huh.”
“Yeah. That being said, the stage’s field itself is—”
Before Ravel could finish, the announcer said something to us.
<<This time, the game field is Kuoh town. Team [Rias Gremory]’s HQ is Kuoh Academy High School, while team [Sekiryuutei of the Blazing Truth]’s HQ is the Hyoudou Residence!>>
Ah, as expected, Kuoh town was the stage, huh! On top of that, my team’s HQ was my house while Rias’s was the school! To think that they’d make the place we live into the stage… However, broadcasting the interior of Hyoudou Residence felt like a privacy violation… As I had such thoughts, the announcer spoke.
<<Therefore, the insides of the HQ won’t be broadcast unless a battle occurs there. We ask everyone on the stage and our spectators for your understanding.>>
Ah, so they won’t broadcast the interior of the house, huh. That’s nice.
“There’s furniture missing in each room.”
“It might be because of privacy issues. They also equipped it with the built-in features.”
After Xenovia and Irina finished investigating, they returned to the entrance hall and said that. So there was no furniture but we could still use the features, huh. Ravel suggested to everyone,
“Let’s go to the basement. The basement is safer than it is here.”
Rossweisse-san agreed to it saying,
“Indeed. Although it’s very unlikely, there is a chance that we’ll be attacked by a long-ranged massive attack that could destroy this house.”
If there’s anyone who could do that, I guess it would be Crom Cruach. Well, considering our past experiences, Rias and Crom Cruach’s movements and this time’s match type, it’s unlikely that they would fire a strong burst attack… But it’s better to be safe than sorry. Crom Cruach wanted a one-to-one fight with Ddraig after all… I didn’t think he’s the type that would shoot a powerful burst attack until Ddraig comes out. …Well, if Ddraig didn’t manifest, he might get impatient and do it though.
And with that, we hid in the basement of the Hyoudou Residence replica and started our strategy meeting. Of course, we brought the table map that showed the whole area along to the basement (depending on the match, the table can be removed at times, but it could also not be removed. This time, it was possible to be removed). The discussion took place in the training room of the first-floor basement. We also checked the large transportation magic circle at the third floor of the basement to see if we couldn use it.. For example, we were trying to see if we could just teleport to Kuoh Academy instantly even if this was a pseudo space. After investigating, Rossweisse-san said,
“…As expected, the transportation magic circle in the basement isn’t functional.”
Well, if it could be used, I guess there’s no point in making the whole town as the field. The field would just be the teleportation from one HQ to the other. As everyone gathered around our strategist Ravel, she said this,
“We’ve talked about this in the training camp, but this game is without a doubt an important game to Ise-sama.”
Ravel then lifted three of her fingers up.
“There are three people in Rias-sama’s team who have the power to turn the game around. The first is Rias-sama clad in Gasper-kun, the second is His Eminence Vasco Strada, and the last is Crom Cruach-sama. These three opponents, to be honest, can only be taken on properly by Ise-sama or Bina-sama.”
As a result of her hellish training, Rias was able to figure out a way to clad her body in Gasper’s Sacred Gear power. That form was so powerful that its raw power exceeded a Maou-class’s, and it was said to be as powerful as the God-eating Wolf Fenrir at eighty percent of its power. Fenrir was among the beasts known throughout all mythologies, very much like the Greek mythology’s Typhon. It was really surprising that they were on par with Fenrir even though its power was at eighty percent. Last year, when the Evil God Loki attacked us, we were able to somehow seal Fenrir’s power using the demonic chain Gleipnir, Excalibur Ruler, and Vali’s Juggernaut Drive. It was so powerful that it required a lot of preparation. However, there were also some weak points to Rias and Gasper’s combination technique. Ravel continued,
“Rias-sama’s form change drains stamina real fast. Although it’s possible that she might have increased the time she’s able to stay in that form thanks to training…I still believe that it’s going to be hard maintaining that form for long. However, it’s also possible that she can change form several times for a shorter period of time.”
The weak point of Rias’s new form was the stamina drain. She could only use it at important times. Ravel further continued,
“As such, the important thing is — to realise that Ise-sama can’t take all three alone. If Ddraig-sama were to show up, then it’s possible to take two of them. However, there’s a time limit to Ddraig-sama’s manifestation, and also the very high chance of Ise-sama struggling to defeat a strong enemy.”
Yeah. If I were to take Rias, His Eminence Strada and Crom Cruach alone, I’d have to use Dragon Deification, but…I still couldn’t take on all three at the same time. For example, if I were to fight against Crom Cruach before taking on Rias… Even if I were able to defeat him, I’d have used up all my power, which would render me powerless against His Eminence Strada and Rias. If Ddraig could manifest himself, he’d also have a time limit, meaning that he could only take one of those three at best. On top of that, we’d also have to deal with their Longinus user and the ace Kiba. It was difficult for us to figure out how we should fight as one mistake could prove fatal to us.
…The difficulty level of isolating His Eminence Strada and Crom Cruach would be tremendously high. His Eminence, after managing to regain his golden age’s strength thanks to Rias and the others, even managed to defeat Vali in his Empireo Juggernaut Drive form, Bikou, Fenrir, Gogmagog, plus one of the strongest swordsmen, Arthur Pendragon of Team Vali. On the other hand, Crom Cruach was brutal and a powerful Evil Dragon even among his kind. His strength was said to be on par with the Heavenly Dragons, and was currently said to be even more powerful than Ddraig. These two were too powerful—. From Ravel’s point of view, considering the tournament’s simple rule (defeat the opponent’s King first), the possibility of being able to defeat Rias after defeating His Eminence Strada and Crom Cruach was — close to zero.
The opponent’s Pawn, Crom Cruach, being able to use the Pawn’s specialty, Promotion, was also one of their aces. Like actual chess, the Pawn could promote once it arrived at the enemy’s base. Normally, a Pawn would promote into a Queen, boosting their whole abilities. However, Crom Cruach was obsessive of his own power, and Rias also knew about this, so we wouldn’t have to worry about promotion being done. After identifying the problems, Ravel presented a solution.
“Our strategy is simple. —We’ll have Ise-sama take down Rias-sama. The rest of the team members will distract the enemies so Ise-sama can save up stamina even if it’s just for a little bit. We’ll reduce the enemy’s fighting power bit by bit.”
Yes, before our fighting power decreases, we’d use a bold and simple strategy that Ravel proposed, which was to take the King with King first. While I went to Rias’s place, the other members would distract the enemy. Xenovia asked,
“So our role is to decrease the enemy’s fighting power as much as we can to make Ise and Ddraig keep on living, huh?”
“Yes. Once Ise-sama arrives at Rias-sama’s place, we’ll win if Rias-sama is defeated. Even if someone loses, please buy as much time as you can. Of course, the best-case scenario would be the enemy being defeated.”
“That being said, now that it has come to this, I’ll fight them with all my strength.”
Ravel then said to Ddraig, who dwelled inside my Sacred Gear.
“Ddraig-sama, considering both teams’ fighting power, you might end up facing either His Eminence or Crom Cruach, so…I’m counting on you.”
Ddraig gave a reassuring answer.
[Sure, leave it to me. I’ll do as much as I can as long as the time allows me.]
As the matter was finished, Ravel moved to the next topic.
“One more thing. I talked about this during the training camp, but I believe they’ve also thought about this strategy that we’re using. That’s why, the key player here will be—”
Ravel looked at Asia.
“Each team’s healer. If a team has a healer who can heal their strong comrades, it will be a big advantage. That’s why taking the healer out will be a great thing for us.”
Having His Eminence Strada and Crom Cruach’s wounds healed would be a scary thing for us… As for them, Asia, who’d be healing me and Ddraig, couldn’t possibly be ignored.
Ravel said to everyone,
“That means, another important thing in this game is to take down the enemy’s healer — Valerie-sama. If that can be done, the match will change drastically.”
Gasper’s childhood friend — Valerie Tepes the Vampire had the Longinus Sephiroth Graal. With the forbidden skill [Resurrection], she could bring back those whose bodies were destroyed as long as the soul existed. Qlippoth’s leader — Rizevim took a liking to Valerie’s [Resurrection] and used it to revive the legendary Evil Dragons. However, reviving the dead took a great toll on Valerie’s mental health, which made Valerie step into the darkness for a period of time. As of now, Valerie was in the middle of recovery thanks to the help from various mythologies, which in turn restricted her from using [Resurrection] and only enabled her to use her [Healing] ability. Her healing ability was not as strong as Asia’s Twilight Healing, but the fact that it could still heal wounds meant that it was still useful in a game. Asia confirmed to Ravel,
“I know full well that I’m going to be targeted. However, in this game, Ise-san is more important than me right?”
Ravel closed her eyes and nodded.
“…Yes. having Ise-sama reach Rias-sama’s place is our top priority.”
Having confirmed that, Asia’s determination showed on her face. Ravel then said to everyone once again,
“I’ll confirm this with you guys one last time. Our top priority is to enable Ise-sama to stay alive. In order to do that, we’ll chip away at our opponent’s fighting power. We also have to find Valerie-sama and defeat her. That is all.”
Nakiri smiled boldly.
“This time, it’s nice and simple. We’ve always been given complicated instructions by Phoenix-san after all.”
Ravel pouted in response to her classmates’ words.
“Oh, Nakiri-kun. Even so, I still put Ise-sama’s and everyone’s thoughts into consideration when making strategies, you know?”
Ravel had also become closer to the boys in her class and she started to attach ‘-kun’ after Gasper and Nakiri. Bova laughed.
“Hahaha! Our strategist has finally begun to think about our warrior hearts while making the strategy calmly and heightening our chance of winning in this tournament.”
“Like Bo said, a clear and simple strategy is nice.”
Roygun-san also smiled.
“Ufufu. I look forward to seeing how you guys will do in the Pro Rating Game scene.”
We also received an acknowledgment from the ex-second rank of the Rating Games.
—As the strategy meeting was concluded, we started to scout the area in order to get an idea of the situation of the field. The ones who went out for reconnaissance were Bova, Roygun-san and Elmenhilde.Ravel said,
“Bova-san and Roygun-sama will go outside and scout the area without getting noticed. Elmenhilde-sama, please spread your bats around the area.”
Our strategy commenced along with their responses. Irina then asked Ravel about something that had been bugging her.
“I wonder if Gasper-kun’s darkness and beasts will reach this field?”
Thanks to his Sacred Gear’s power, Gasper could create countless beasts from the darkness. He’s also able to spread his darkness over a wide area. That’s why Irina felt like his power should be able to cover the whole Kuoh town in darkness. Ravel replied,
“I’d say that his darkness beasts are only out for scouting purposes. However, an ability that has a wide coverage… I feel like he’s not going to use it to cover the whole town.”
“Why is that?”
Ravel answered this in response to Irina’s second question.
“The main focus here is the combination technique with Rias-sama. And because that is the most important thing, I don’t think he’s going to use techniques that will use up his stamina. That combination technique also requires Gasper-kun’s stamina after all. If he wants to lengthen the time of his form-change even for a second, then he’d only use his darkness over a wide area at certain times. That being said, it’s better to be on your guard.”
That was Ravel’s answer. As such conversations were concluded, Bova and Roygun-san went onto scouting. The members that were left here started to talk about how we should go to the enemy’s HQ. Suddenly, something happened.
A big exploding sound could be heard, shaking the whole house! The shock even reached the basement! Everyone looked at each other! —Were we being attacked nearby!? We quickly went outside the house while still shocked due to the explosion that occurred just a while after our plan started—.
As we left the entrance hall, we heard something.
<<[Sekiryuutei of the Blazing Truth] team’s one Pawn, Retired!>>
—A retirement announcement! Wait, wait, wait, it’s my team’s retirement announcement! As I felt the presence of an aura and looked above — there was a black incarnation floating! A jet-black humanoid silhouette, with ten wings on its back and a crimson third-eye on its forehead! —It’s the combination technique of Rias and Gasper, [Forbidden Invade Balor The Princess]! Kiba with the Demonic Emperor Sword Gram and Lint-san, who had a halo on top of her head, six silver angelic wings sprouting from her back and wielded a purple-flamed sword, also came along with Rias, who had turned into a jet-black beast! In a place not far from there, the injured Roygun-san was floating in the sky facing Rias and the others! …I couldn’t see Bova anywhere. Of course, the one that was announced retired was my Pawn, Bova! Ravel, who was next to me, ground her teeth while looking frustrated.
“…A sudden attack! To think that they’d come attacking our HQ using that from the start…!”
Who’d expect that their King herself would attack the enemy’s base from the very start…!
Rias’s third-eye took a glimpse at us who were below her and started to glow red… No, crimson! Looking at that, Roygun-san screamed at us!
“Get inside the house!”
Roygun-san enveloped herself in aura and quickly charged at Rias, Kiba and Lint-san with high speed! Following Roygun-san’s words, Ravel quickly grasped the situation and pulled my arm inside the house and quickly closed the door from the entranceway. I said to Ravel,
Ravel lashed at me.
“You can’t! Rias-sama plans to use her third eye and stop time! Your time will be stopped as well since you haven’t even changed form yet!”
Following that—. We received a brutal report.
<<[Sekiryuutei of the Blazing Truth] Team’s one Bishop, Retired!>>
That was — Roygun-san’s retirement report. …Faced with Rias’s boldness, I sat down in the entrance hall and slammed my fist against the ground in response to the merciless beginning. —We’re done. Ravel put her hands on my shoulders from the front and said to me.
“…They know it very well. The fact that they could win as long as they could decrease Ise-sama’s stamina or spirit. That’s why, if they managed to decrease a big amount in the beginning, they decided that it would be the best scenario and hence the surprise attack…!”
Ravel’s expression was full of frustration. She must have felt that she was supposed to know Rias already and didn’t expect to be surprised like this from the beginning. No, she planned to know Rias. Both me and Ravel—. I mumbled,
“…Rias Gremory is strong even without the Red Dragon Emperor, huh. That’s how Rias was seen in the tournament.”
My heart was completely fired up. No, the fire which was already lit now burned even more fiercely and had turned into a flame. No, it too had even burned up so much and turned into a blaze1.
Although there’s no such word, that was the word that reflected my heart’s current situation.
I stood up and enveloped myself in aura, and said to Ravel.
“Let’s replan everything and strike back.”
We went down to the basement and started planning a new strategy—.
- Blaze = Kanji was 燚燚 (Itsueki). No such word actually exists, but judging from the Kanji, it means ‘blaze’.