Chapter 35: The Casino Part 2
“WHOAAA!! Jend swung his sword downwards and struck Urias’ sword out of his handsー!! The victory goes to Jendー!!”
As the referee determines the victor, the crowd goes wild and applauds.
According to the conversations I hear around me, that Urias that Jend fought was a famous rapier-user and quite famous as a fighter in this casino.
He definitely had solid swordsmanship skills, but Jend had Sir Ezeal train him, and Jend’s swordsmanship was also refined about two levels ahead of Urias.
Cyril: “Ooohhhh… you were right, Henry. Jend won just like you said he would.”
Henry: “I told you. I’m not always 100% accurate, but I can tell a person's strength by how they walk.”
Cyril: “......? Really? Just by their walking?”
Henry: “You watch for their weight distribution, muscular formation, and the way they draw their weapon. Stuff like that.”
Cyril’s head visibly fills up with question marks.
…….yeah, I know how she feels. When I was a kid, an elder martial artist would watch a man walk by and comment, “That man is strong.” And I would wonder how he was able to determine that. I honestly thought he was nuts.
But as you improve yourself, you begin to catch on.
“Jend still seems to be full of energy!! Are there any challengers?! Wait…….Ohhh!! Here comes Gwayne, the master spear-user!! It’s as if he was waiting for this moment to come!!”
I immediately head to the betting counter and throw the max betting amount towards Jend.
Henry: “Cyril, if you want to make some quick cash, bet on Jend.”
Cyril: “Huh? What? Oh, um, sure. Okay.”
Cyril seems doubtful and bets half the max amount towards Jend.
Cyril: “Um, Henry. I know I'm a complete beginner in martial arts, but Jend’s opponent seems strong.”
He has a well trained and chiseled build, and good spear skills from the way he handles the practice weapon. He’s definitely skilled, and he’s not showing any signs of overconfidence or looking down upon Jend. Plus, Jend’s been fighting consecutive matches, so the stamina difference may be an issue.
That Urias was strong, but Gwayne is a level higher. And finally, since the use of magic power is prohibited, going against the long reach of a spear user will be difficult.
Without any foresight, I would be unsure of the outcome. Jend’s skills are higher, but his opponent is stronger and full of energy.
Henry: “You’re forgetting one thing, Cyril.”
Henry: “Who do you think Jend trains with all the time?”
Ha! Nailed it. Now you see?
Cyril: “Training? You mean how he trains with you? What does that have to do with anything.”
Her words hit me hard in the gut as my shoulder sags from the impact.
Can’t you just let me feel a little bit cool for a moment?
Cyril: “So what did you mean by that?”
Henry: “Um, well, so you see… if Jend is always training with a very skilled spear-user like me, then you see how he wouldn’t lose to any other spear-user? Like that?”
…...why am I having to explain this….I thought just by saying, “Who do you think he trains with all the time?” That would be enough to drive the point….you know….because….
Cyril: “Hmmm, do you really think so? It’s the same weapon, but his height and build is different from yours, his moves will be completely different, so would the experience training with you really help in this case?”
Henry: “Yーyeah, that IS true, but...Miss Cyril, could you be quiet for a second?”
Everything she said was true, but her logic was more crippling to my confidence than anything else.
That was a good 1-2 combo. I slump in my seat from the burns.
“Jend parries Gwayne’s strike and his sword nails Gwayne’s shoulder!!”
The end result was that Jend won.
Henry: “....see? Just like I said.”
Cyril: “Yeah, I’m impressed. Jend really is improving.
Well, to be fair, Gwayne was an experienced fighter, and he was pushing Jend back for most of the fight. The bets were hedged against Jend, so the odds played in my favor, and I got a nice sum back.
I wanted to tell Cyril how she could have made more money if she trusted me more, but that seemed petty, and I held back the words. I’ll be satisfied with just the thought.
“Mr. Jend, do you still have more fight left in you?”
Jend: “I can still keep going, but I’m not sure if there are any more challengers.”
After Gwayne, the challenges ceased. Looks like there was no one above Gwayne's caliber around today.
Cyril: “Henry, Henry. Isn’t it your turn now?”
Henry: “Oh, uhhhhh, not sure about that.”
Honestly, the last fight got my blood pumping, and I am itching for some action. But I don’t like being made a tool or puppet for people’s entertainment.
But Jend has been stealing glances my way too.
“Is there anyone?! Anyone who has the strength and courage to stand up to this man?!”
Oh, the referee is desperate too.
It’ll be problematic to end things here for the casino.
Jend sends me an eye contact signal that is asking me for my help.
Henry: “Fine. Let’s go, Cyril〜.”
Cyril: “Oh?! Really?”
We begin to jump and weave through the audience and move towards the stage.
The referee notices that we are purposefully moving towards them, and welcomes us whole heartedly.
“OHHHH!! WE HAVE A CHALLENGERー?!?! He even has a cute lady walking behind himー?! Is it a boyfriend trying to show off his strength to his girl?!?!”
………...I guess that’s welcoming?
Cyril: “Awww that’s so sweet! She said I'm ‘a cute lady’〜”
Henry: “Ugh, why’d she introduce me as your boyfriend. This isn’t a date.”
...........….or is it?
I jump over the tall fence surrounding the stage. Cyril doesn’t even try to and heads for the gate.
“Thank you, Mr. Challenger! What is your name?!”
With a voice-magnifying mic pointed at my face, I cough to clear my throat. I’m not using to speaking like this, so I do feel nervous, but I speak as clearly as I can.
“I’m Henry. I’m a Heroic Warrior Adventurer and….I’m also in the same party as Jend over there.”
Whoa! Hearing my own voice so loud made me almost jump.
“Ooohhh I see!! From the same party, huh? This is going to be a good fight then! Just in case! Please pledge your oaths that you will fight with your utmost ability!!”
Oh yeah, if it’s people within the same party, you’ll need to do that. You could purposefully lose a fight any way you want, and that could upset the crowd who would hold the casino responsible.
If you break your oath to the church and god you swore allegiance to, you won’t be able to walk in public any more. There’s not many who would risk that much just to lose a fight on purpose.
Henry: “I swear by the god of the Grandes Church. I will not go easy and will fight with everything I have for this match.”
Jend: “I swear the same oath as well.”
Both Jend and I swear an oath.
I go over to a stand next to the fighting arena and select a short spear. There is no blade on the edge and the end is rounded.
It is still made of metal, so you still have to be wary of accidents, but…...that won’t be a problem for Jend and I. We’re not amateurs that can’t stop our blade when we know it will hit.
I try a few basic stances and swings to determine the balance and weight of the spear.
……….Good. It’s designed for anyone to be able to use it, so the design itself is very simple and straight-forward.
I let magic power for a moment travel through my body to warm-up and relax my muscles and let it dissipate….and once it is completely gone, I rise up on top of the stage.
As soon as I get up into the fighting arena, I’m taken back by the roar of the crowd. The air vibrated, and it almost felt unreal like a dream.
…………..I’m starting to get nervous.
Jend: “How is it, Henry? Isn’t it different on a public stage? I actually got so nervous in my first battle that I couldn’t feel my feet and lost pretty quickly.”
Henry: “.....I’ll be alright.”
I try to take a deep breath, and focus my full attention on Jend.
I’ve been in fights during my adventures in piss poor conditions, and that happened way too many times in Ligaleo. I have too much experience now where a little mental pressure is not going to keep me from performing from what I have done most of my life.
“I wonder who the audience has placed their bets on?! Right now, the odds look to be in favor of Jend! It speaks volumes to his performance tonight!”
Oh, that kinda hurts to hear that. I don’t have a whole lot of pride, but I still have some dignity as a martial artist and a warrior. …...no, really! I do have some…!
Henry: “Sorry, Jend. I’m gonna have to take this one.”
Jend: “......hey, it’s not like I haven’t been improving lately. You’re not going to win that easily.”
Yup, I know that better than anyone else.
Jend’s been following every hint Sir Ezeal gave him, and his techniques and skills have improved drastically. If it was the Jend before going to the Capital, I don’t think he would have beaten that Gwayne guy even in his top condition.
But even so, with just [Physical Boost] in play, I’m still holding a 70% win rate.
With Jend improving, I’m actually improving with him. Eventually, I’m going to plateau, and he’ll catch up, but that’s still in the future.
“Alright you two, are you ready?!”
“ “ Any time “ “
We both speak at the same time.
The referee lowers her hand, and Jend charges in at the same time.
I step back to open up the distance, and circle around him counter-clockwise and thrust my spear towards him. Jend blocks my jab with ease, and he parries the following jabs without any issues.
………..and what he’s most improved on is his defense. Even though the large broadsword is not catered for defensive tactics, he manipulates his sword well with clever blocks. These movements remind me of Sir Ezeal.
He parries my spear with force, and it forces me to re-take my stance.
Jend: “ーー!! Got you!!”
Jend sees an opening and charges forward.
I dodge his horizontal slash by stepping back.
Henry: “I didn’t think you could close that distance so fast. You almost got me there.”
He’s definitely improved even more than what I remember. ………...he’s getting strong really fast.
“Ohhh, OHHHHH～～～!! Look at that offense and defense from both fighters!! Henry was pressing Jend, but Jend’s last attack was very close!”
Although I hear the noise of the referee’s comments and the cheers of the crowd, none of their words reach my ears. How should I attack? Should I take a moment to see what he does? All my thoughts are consumed by what I’ll do next.
…….you know what? It’s not bad fighting on a stage like this. It’s pretty fun.
Unknowingly, a smile comes across my face as I charge forward towards Jend.
Jend: “Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh～～～, I can’t believe I lost!”
In the waiting room for the arena fighters.
As a show of gratitude for giving the crowd a night they’ll remember, we were taken to a private room to rest. There, Jend was lying on a bench.
Henry: “Well～, it’s a given. You fought 10 matches before fighting me.”
Jend: “Even so, I still had plenty of energy. Even when we’re training, we easily go through 10 or 20 matches.”
Henry: “That kind of special environment plays a part too. You have to take that into account.”
I only fought one match, but being on a public stage like that, after a few matches, I would start feeling the mental strain and fatigue.
Cyril: “But before that, Jend. Why are you even fighting here? Do you want to quit being an adventurer and become an arena fighter?”
Jend: “No～, why would I even do that? I was told by Sir Grandezeal that I don’t have enough experience fighting different opponents.”
Ferris: “I heard that too. And then I saw that they had a Quest posted for here, and I was the one who invited him to come fight. I didn’t think he would be winning this much though.”
Jend answers Cyril’s question, and Ferris clarifies further.
Henry: “I get it now. Well, just make sure that it doesn’t affect your performance when we’re out on adventures.”
Jend: “I know～. But man, it really sucks to lose at the very end.”
I know we weren’t playing around, but in a fight like that, you don’t end up losing your life, so you don’t have to get so down on yourself.
Henry: “Haha….well, why don’t we all go out? I betted on you, and got some money from it.”
Jend: “A～nd you betted on me too, huh….”
Jend won every fight, so I was able to recover my losses from the roulette and I got a hefty sum on top of that.
Ferris: “I’m done with work as well. Can I join?”
Henry: “Oh yeah, totally. Do you drink, Ferris?”
Ferris; “I didn’t do it before just because money was tight, but I like drinking.”
Got it. Then it’s all good.
In this shady area, there’s a lot of establishments that women probably won’t like, but there’s also a lot of regular bars and taverns as well.
Henry: “Alright, let’s goー!!”
I’m followed by a “YEAH!” from the group, and we head out.
Teo: “And why wasn’t I invited?”
Henry: “................I’m really sorry.”
Teo was in a foul mood for being the only one left out, so I had to appease her with the Bear Keg Inn’s specialty peach compotes.
………...no really. I do feel bad.
Semi-retired Adventurer Lives Leisurely
Written by Hisagushien
Translated by: ChonkyTranslator
Book 3: The Flowtier Days