Ten seconds had passed since the beginning of the battle. Both Lina and Hornel stood stock still.
Pochi and I, in order to observe the match more closely, using the special privileges of the Student Council that I wouldn’t usually take advantage of, made our way to where Warren and the others were seated. We pushed our way through the crowd, while keeping an eye on the fight.
It took us twenty seconds to get to the Student Council’s section, and right then, as if he was waiting for us to be done, Hornel started casting his spells.
“Speed Up! Shield! Magic Shield!”
Oho, so out of Hornel’s four Swift Magic slots, three had been used for support spells.
As their names suggested, the spells augmented speed, physical defense, and magical defense. Lina, on the other hand, only had the speed augmentation.
In this situation, she might be at a disadvantage with that modified staff of a sword.
That was an intermediate-level wind spell!
Prioritizing the magic spell’s speed over firepower, I see. In an enclosed space such as here, that would indeed be quite effective. Moreover, if one had Swift Magic, they wouldn’t have to worry about messing up the tracing of Spell Circles in the air either.
In face of the attack, Lina held her sword in both hands and swung it at the spell.
The spell burst apart, blowing Lina away by its shockwave. Her stance was broken, but she landed safely, a few paces back.
But one could never afford to waste even a single moment. Hornel was already making his next move.
My special spells aside, spells invoked with Swift Magic have cool-down periods, limiting their ability to be fired in quick succession. In this case, it was not yet the time for Hornel to be able to cast his spell again… which means that his next planned move was a strike with his staff.
It was an uppercut blow with a wide arc and augmented speed. The impact was heavier than I’d expected, throwing Lina upwards even though it barely grazed her.
“L-Lina! Hey, Hornel! If you don’t stop attacking her, I’ll howl in front of your room every night!”
That would be a big nuisance… she sure is devoted to things like this.
As a matter of fact, she is probably more devoted to that rather than her comical hostility toward me.
Before Lina could land again, the cool-down time of Hornel’s Cross Wind was already over. And so he held his staff forward and immediately invoked another one.
Looks like he isn’t affected by Pochi’s threat at all.
Razor-sharp wind blades flew toward Lina’s landing spot, leaving behind a trail of shredded wind as they buffeted down on Lina. The skin of her legs got scraped, but she withstood the pain and shouted.
The invocation of the spell sounded more like a scream.
Immediately mitigating damage received by using Swift Magic, I see. Quite an avant-garde fighting style.
Tears welled up in her eyes, but she gritted through the swelling pain. I could see the cold sweat on her forehead from all the way up here.
Damn you, Hornel… Prepare to hear nonstop howling every night from now on!
“You’ve done it again! Now I’m angry! I’ll pour molten wax in your room’s keyhole!”
And here comes another scheme… what are you, a natural-born bully?
“Tch, those guys sure are noisy…”
“Ah, I just realized I can’t click my tongue, sir! Please teach me how to do it sometime later!”
Where did all that anger go now?
“Rise, A-rise, Wind!”
“Don’t mess around with me! Hah!”
Hornel clashed against Lina’s Wind magic head-on with his staff, commencing a spin attack, while also keeping an eye on where his opponent was approaching from. This martial art skill of his was impressive, and his dynamic vision even more so.
Lina slid under Hornel’s staff and avoided it successfully, then slipped behind him for a disruptive strike.
Hornel completed his rotation and stopped immediately, then pointed his staff, which had been switched into his left hand before anyone had even noticed, behind him and fired off another Cross Wind.
Lina jumped aside to dodge it.
With Hornel holding the advantage, cheering throughout the Maginasium resounded in his favor.
“Hang in there, Lina!”
Those were from our classmates, Claris and Anri. Lina smiled mid-jump in response to their encouragement. It was at this point that our class started to cheer for Lina as well… especially the boys.
I suppose being charming is one of the fundamental ways of getting yourself some fans.
This time, Hornel rushed to where Lina was about to land, swinging his staff at her as she came down.
Ohh, tracing a Circle while in mid-air… that’s a pretty advanced technique!
This method requires one to practically draw on a stationary Spell Circle, while being constantly on the move, and to accurately direct a consistent flow of mana onto that one point. So it is quite hard to pull it off.
Fire, being an attack with high power, was enough to repel Hornel’s attack and letting Lina land safely. However, Hornel is now… grinning, I think? And then…
His staff, which had been knocked aside, now accelerated in the opposite direction, landing a heavy blow on Lina.
Damn it, that boy was able to trace a Spell Circle with just his free left hand. He’s fast enough to catch on to others’ tricks, huh… Let’s see if I can buy some wax on my way back tonight.
“Grrrrr…! We must clear her name of this shame, Master!”
What? You do know that outside help isn’t permitted, right?
“Let’s start by teaching me how to click my tongue, sir!”
“Ngh… Middle Cure!”
“Your mana will dry up soon, right? Besides, you can only go on for so long with that stamina. Why not give up while you still can?”
“Hah hah… I refuse!”
Lina’s answer was firm, but Hornel was right — there was quite a bit of difference in their abilities.
Hornel hasn’t even needed to use defense-type support magic so far. Not even a single one of Lina’s attacks have connected either. Still, I’d never expected this Hornel boy to be so skilled. Even with the Blazing Dragon Staff, he was essentially fighting with just two spells.
Although the two have managed to gain some distance, the augmentation effects of their support spells should be ending soon. And then if Lina were to use Speed Up again, she might be in a risky position. Well, I suppose the same goes for Hornel too.
Both of them had their minds set on the same spell.
Hornel had a higher level, sure, but that didn’t mean that his mana pool would be much larger. Besides, so far, he’d been spending more mana as compared to Lina.
So he’s chosen to forgo defensive magic. I suppose I would’ve done that too if I were in his situation.
If Hornel were to use Power Up right now, the fight would at least skew toward him winning… Or perhaps not, he would want to play it safe and go with a defense augmentation. If so, then–
“Hmph, Power Up!”
Oh, right, he could invoke it by air tracing. Huh.
I’m not your mom, doggo.
“What now, sir!? At this point, Lina’s gonna lose!”
“Looks quite fine to me.”
“It’s only a matter of time!”
“C’mon, you gotta have more faith in her. There, look at her expression.”
She was visibly exhausted, but that didn’t mean she was giving up.
Wait… I think she was smiling a bit?
“Rise, A-rise, A-rise… House!”
That spell… I remember it!
Oh, I definitely remember seeing it. On the day I went to eat BBQ birds with Irene… the spell she used in her office…
–The Familiar summoning spell.
“UKYAAA!! I finally got to go outside!
And the luminous creature that emerged from the Spell Circle was none other than…
“F-four wings… Baladd Dragon!?”
Hornel exclaimed right off the bat.
Of course he would — even I wanted to scream. When did she even grow so big?
Last I saw her, she had been small enough to sit on my arm. But now…
“…She’s as large as my gigantified form.”
“About half as big as her parent Dragon now, yeah.”
Commotion broke out all around us. If the face of an A-ranked monster appeared as a Familiar, of course it would. Just about anyone would be surprised.
“Master Lina, it was werry diff-fee-cult to live in there!”
“Sorry to have kept you waiting, Baladd.”
“I under-stand that it was to pro-tech me. I vill try not to com-plane too much.”
Lina gently brushed the underside of Baladd’s jaws. Baladd looked to be enjoying it quite a lot.
Our boy Hornel, on the other hand…
“W-what is this madness!? Mister Referee, is that even allowed, sir!?”
“A Familiar is considered one and the same as its Master. Why would there be a need to stop them?”
Referee Billy totally shut him down. Moreover, Billy’s eyes were sparkling quite a lot. I’m sure he was getting a strong impulse to get a feel of Baladd right now. And Irene, who I’d expected to get angry, was laughing instead. So hard that she couldn’t contain it by holding her belly, as a matter of fact.
Right — having an A-ranked monster as your Familiar would usually imply that you were on an A-ranked power level in some way. Baladd may still be a Dragonling, but her growth rate was otherworldly. Give her a few more months and she’d probably be just like a fully grown-up Dragon.
And the one to summon such a Familiar was a Magic University Freshman, and on top of that, a fifteen-year-old girl. It couldn’t be helped that Irene went crazy upon witnessing such a scene.
“Master Lina, your orders!”
Huh, and she’s already more responsive than my “Familiar” Pochi?