Baladd, awaiting Lina’s orders, directed her piercing glare at Hornel.
Those blue eyes of hers locked on to Hornel, tracking his every move.
I suppose this was a representation of a giant serpent staring down at a frog.
Hornel, although anxious, stood his ground against the overwhelming pressure.
He slowly raised his trembling hand and started tracing a Circle.
It was an intermediate-level spell.
It conjured a fire that was cold to touch, which usually had great effect against the Dragon archetype. Now, how would Baladd deal with this?
Well, she just flicked it away, like pushing herself through a shop’s entrance curtains.
“Boy, would you look at her power.”
“B-but I can do that, too!”
“You’re level-100, you know, but Baladd is…”
I promptly invoked the Appraisal Glasses and analyzed Baladd.
- NAME: BALADD
- TITLES: Four-Winged Dragon, Advanced Familiar, Rank B
- LV: 18
- HP: 1,413
- MP: 368
- EXP: 18,020
- SPECIAL SKILLS:
- Breath Attack
- Space Interference
Seriously, what was up with that life force?
That was definitely not the HP pool of a level-18. And I’d assume that the Space Interference skill was a Psychic Power she’d used when she’d opened my room’s window.
Her abilities now made her fitting of a B Rank, and I suppose she’d already gotten the title because of her being a monster. That was unlike Pochi, who was an animal, and therefore not given a Rank title.
I knew, just that point was enough to show a big difference, but the fact that she was already an Advanced Familiar was eye-popping nonetheless.
Perhaps this could be attributed to the archetype’s innate wisdom. Oh, how envious I am of you, Lina!
“Sir, you were thinking some rude thoughts toward me just now, weren’t you?”
“Not just now. All the time!”
“What a coincidence! Same goes for me!”
“Some Familiar you are!”
“Well, look who’s talking!”
“That aside, how are we supposed to win against Baladd next month? She’s already super strong as she is now.”
“I’m sure this guy called Asley will come up with something!”
Well then, that’s so reassuring–
“Ah, Lina is making her move!”
Oh, poor Hornel… if he got pushed around anymore than he was, I think I might feel sorry for him, huh?
And Lina looked… scarier than usual?
“I’ll have you taste at least a fraction of what you’ve been doing to Sir Asley!”
I see, so she intended to repay him for the bullying I’d been subjected to.
Very fitting of her to say ‘at least a fraction of it’ though.
“Ah, Master Asley! Pochi! Long thyme no see!”
She waved her hand in such an adorable manner in such a dignified Dragon body.
Well, she was technically only a few months old, after all.
“Why did she only refer to you politely, Master!?”
“Heh, she gets her priorities right, that’s why!”
Still, thanks to that, I’d gotten everyone’s eyes on me.
C’mon, pay attention to the match, people.
“Shield! Magic Shield!”
Before Pochi could come up with a counterargument, Hornel made his move, pulling our attention back into the game. I suppose, even with his dwindling mana, it was reasonable for him to play it safe.
Lina augmented Baladd’s speed with her magic.
“Ukyah! Revenge for Master Asley!”
Was it just me, or did she talk as if I’d been killed off?
Hornel jumped away, retreating as Baladd approached, but Baladd unleashed a breath attack as she ran.
That easily caught Hornel, trapping him a stream of flame.
He took it head-on, spinning his staff in one hand to ward it off. However, only that couldn’t keep up with how fierce the flame was. He might have managed with two hands… or not.
All he needed was to increase the power of his spin. This boy’s pretty good.
Successfully repelling the breath attack, Hornel felt relieved for a brief moment, but Lina had also circled to his backside.
That landed a direct hit, forcing Hornel to lose his balance.
Although out of breath, he still managed to fire off a Cross Wind right when he saw Baladd drawing near.
At such a close range, he couldn’t possibly rely on anything but Swift Magic.
…This time it was like she was swiping it with a feather duster. Boy, this Dragon is unbelievable.
Hornel closed his eyes, and right then, Lina’s estoc and Baladd’s index finger claw pointed at his head.
Billy’s announcement echoed through the Maginasium.
Then all of the student spectators filled the vicinity with their cheering.
A Familiar’s strength was the thing that have made the difference here; without it, it certainly would have been Hornel’s victory.
As for Hornel himself, I suppose he would soon surpass the average junior year students if he stuck with this pace of improvement. He could do air tracing with one hand, at least a few martial art moves, and had the ability to assess the situation during combat. And he did deal with Baladd fairly well after she’d been summoned. He was a splendid mage in his own right, today’s final result notwithstanding.
His top student honor sure wasn’t just for show.
Now, regarding Lina.
She had brought out Baladd to compensate for her inadequate skills with the staff. I’m sure she’d prefer to win without relying on the latter’s assistance, but I suppose that was a battle she wanted to win that badly.
She’d also been doing her best with general education during the past few months, so some inadequacies couldn’t possibly be ignored. But her fighting had already been impressive even before Baladd was summoned.
If Hornel had a Familiar himself as well, the result would’ve been impossible to guess, I think.
Which reminds me, didn’t either Irene or Trace tell me that there was another mage with a Familiar among this year’s new students aside from me?
I don’t believe I’ve met any Freshman fitting that description so far?
“Master, how are we supposed to win against Baladd, sir?”
“Uh, well, I’ll… think of some countermeasures a bit later.”
That night, Pochi and I snuck out past the curfew time once again, and headed to the Beilanea Adventurer’s Guild.
After finishing up some easy hunts, we stumbled upon Blazer’s crew. The timing of which couldn’t be any better, since I’ve been wanting to catch up with them on current events and tell them about the Friendly Match.
“–So, it’s been decided that I’ll fight my very own pupil at the Friendly Match!”
Five mugs of ale rang with a glassy knock.
The members of The Silver and Duncan celebrated as if it was their own success.
I was happy too, of course, but even more so to have friends celebrating for us.
It had been quite some time since I last experienced such a connection.
“But really, Lina sure is working hard on everything~~ She should be able to take the Rank B test very soon, I think?”
“Wouldn’t look nice if her teacher fell behind her now, huh?”
“You can say that again. I never expected her to summon and incorporate her Familiar into practical situations so effectively…”
“Lina is famous in this Guild, too, y’know. She’s a charming li’l girl… she’d grow up to be an excellent woman, eh, Asley?”
“Brother, you sounded like a sleazebag!”
“Well-well, sorry ’bout that!”
Bruce and Betty bantered as usual, and garnered the usual laughter from everyone.
“But seriously, how will we deal with Baladd, Master? The Friendly Match rules forbid us from using magic higher than the intermediate level, and wouldn’t it be difficult for you to take control of Baladd with the spells you can use?”
“If we use the ‘Pochi’s Final Sacrifice’ strategy, we’ll probably manage, right?”
“No, let’s use the ‘Asley’s Shortest Route to his Grave’ strategy instead!”
“Don’t just kill me off like that!”
“Well-well, sorry ’bout that, sir!”
Pochi put her front paw over her forehead, prompting everyone to laugh once again.
This doggo was fitting right in with everyone present here. And Duncan held no prejudices toward Familiars, so Pochi had gotten used to him quite a lot, despite her leaning toward disliking him at first.
“Anyhow, at least two members of this Adventurers’ Guild are going to be on stage. We’ll be there on the day of the match.”
“Thank you very much.”
“Oh, you’ll be there to cheer for us, sir?”
Pochi wagged her tail happily upon hearing Blazer’s words.
And yes, I was happy as well. I surely would have wagged my tail if I had one.
“What’re you talking about?”
“Yeah, you realize that we’re gonna cheer for Lina, right?”
“Uh — Not you too, Betty!”
“It’s perfectly normal that the teacher would be stronger, so it’s the pupil that needs support, Asley.”
“Lina is this establishment’s idol, after all~~ Maybe I should go as well?”
…Looks like I’ll soon be isolated and helpless once again.
But for now, our talks picked up the pace and branched off to a myriad of topics, and the hours passed in the blink of an eye.
“So… what is it, Bruce? You needed me to walk with you?”
“Y’see… well… y’know…”
It was so rare for Bruce to be this bad at voicing what he wanted.
Whatever could be going on here?
“…L-look, just come with me for a bit, man.”
“Now, hol’ up a minute… where are you even taking me to?”
“It’s someplace nice!”
“Again, I’m asking where.”
“The legal place…”
“The legal adult business place.”
Oh, mamma mia.