Nick, Leon, and the rest of the Steel Tiger Crew and Survivors were thrown inside a room in the guild.
Everyone looked as though their blood was boiling. The rest of Survivors heard from Nick what Claudine and Leon had been doing, and understood why this situation escalated into a duel.
At the same time, Steel Tiger Crew looked at Nick, the one that hit Leon, like he was their parent’s enemy. Claudine seemed to have forgotten that she was ready to betray Leon, and looked at Nick with eyes of resentment.
“I’ll explain the rules. I’m sure the Steel Tiger Crew knows, but Survivors don’t, right?”
“Of course not. Is this really that famous?”
Asked Nick, to which Wilma emphatically nodded.
“A lot of adventurers are idiots that have nothing more than physical strength. It would be very simple to solve everything with fist fights, but that wouldn’t be good for the guild, so we prepared a different method of having a match. Bare-knuckle arithmetic.
“…So basically, as the name implies, it’s a competition that combines math with fighting?”
“That’s it. It’s no joke or prank.”
Wilma responded very seriously to Nick’s exasperated voice.
“They will alternate between fighting and math. First, the parties decide who is going to duel with their fists. Traditionally, the people that started the duel in the first place are chosen. And then…”
“And then you decide who’s going to take a test with a lottery, right?”
Said Leon half laughing, and Wilma nodded.
“Yes, that’s right.”
“Eh? Hold on, we should be able to pick that.”
Nick raised an objection.
“Adventurers can cover for someone that’s weak, but it’s hard to cover for an idiot, or someone that was misjudged in the first place. One miss can lead to everyone dying, and that’s why we chose randomly.”
“It’s not like I don’t get it, but how is that related to a duel?”
“It’s a duel mediated by the guild, so you have to follow the guild’s policy. If you don’t like it, you can grab your blade or whatever and play war all you want. But we’ll have to ask you to leave the guild.”
“I don’t really want to say this, but isn’t there any else…? I want to do something a little more serious.”
“I’m very serious! You adventurers are all reckless idiots anyway. We have to train your minds too!”
Nick was at his wit’s end, and Leon sneered.
“Eh? Are you trying to run away now?”
“What did you say?”
Just as a dangerous atmosphere was rising again, a puff of smoke passed in front of everyone’s eyes.
It came from Tianna’s alluring lips.
“T-Tianna? Why are you smoking?”
Asked Nick nervously, while Tianna smoked a pipe.
“Hn? Why…? Well…”
Tianna usually didn’t do it in front of the other party members, she would always do it in her room, dragon race track, or casinos, but now she was overflowing with the same dangerous air around her that she had when she first met Nick and the others, like she was about to kill someone.
“I can’t control myself when I’m facing people I want to smack straight to hell.”
This time, she blew the smoke straight into Leon and his party.
Leon trembled with anger, and there was a visible vein in his forehead.
“You care about your friends uh? You’re pretty brave.”
“I just hate guys and girls like you people so much I could die. Just talking to you feels like it’s rotting my mouth… Ah, someone get me an ashtray.”
While holding the pipe in her mouth, Tianna put her heels on top of the table with a thud, and crossed her elegant legs covered by black tights. Seeing this girl that looked like a delicate doll act like a gangster made the men in front of her feel a strange pressure, and devilish charm. Even the enraged Leon had to take a step back.
“Mind your manners. And this is your leader’s fight right?”
“Oh, excuse me.”
Tianna vocalized an apology, but it seemed there was no real remorse behind it.
“Anyway, I understand the logic behind it, but what do you do if fighting with fists and mind doesn’t solve anything? What if it’s a tie?”
“We’ll keep going until it’s solved. First it’s a bare-handed duel, then the test, and if that doesn’t decide it, we do another bare-handed duel… You get the idea.”
Nick nodded, but Tianna interjected with a question.
“By the way, what are we betting? Does the loser have to apologize to the winner… That can’t be all right? This isn’t a children’s game.”
“Yes, you’re right.”
Leon responded with a smirk.
“Little Nick, you hit me all of a sudden, so I’ll be taking at least five hundred thousand dinnar from you.”
“It was because you blurted out all that nonsense.”
“Eh, say what you want, but I have no intention of bending the conditions. So, what are your conditions?”
Nick started thinking, and Tianna interjected.
“Give back everything you stole.”
“What did you say?”
“I said, give it back.”
There was a dark cloud in Tianna’s eyes, something you could only see in the eyes of someone that had something important taken away from them.
Eyes of righteous indignation over the unfairness and injustice in this world.
“Tianna, this is Nick’s duel so…”
Sem admonished her, but Nick stopped him.
“No, it’s fine. It’s just like Tianna said.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, Tianna said what I wanted to say. That’s my condition, ‘give it back’.”
“…Alright, then the conditions are decided.”
Leon nodded, and Wilma turned to Nick to ask a question.
“So Nick, do you accept this match?”
Nick hesitated. Thanks to Tianna, he had cooled off.
Leon from Steel Tiger Crew proposed this match, and surely had some way to win.
“We’ll win.” “That’s right.” “Let’s do it.”
Everyone responded strongly, as if to say that they were not weaklings that could do nothing but lose and sit quietly.
Yes, they were Survivors. Adventurers that could stubbornly survive any trap.
“Alright, let’s do it.”
“Nick and Leon will box. As for the written test…”
Wilma looked at two girls.
“Well, this is absurd, but I’ll go along with it.”
Claudine frowned, but her eyes looked as though they were saying ‘I know I’ll win’.
“My heart weeps for a stupid opponent like the dragon person.”
Karan was picked in the lottery.
“Face me! Aren’t you frustrated after so much provocation!?”
Tianna violently screamed at Claudine, who responded with a sneer.
“Hahaha, complain about the results all you want, nothing will change you idiot.”
“Do you talk that lightly because your brain is light too?”
Mumbled Karan, which angered Claudine.
“…At least you can talk trash, if nothing else.”
Karan quietly glared at Claudine.
“The match will take place in one week. We will be setting up a ring on the roof of the guild, so be ready.”
Claudine and Karan nodded strongly, with fighting spirit bubbling up inside.