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Let’s settle this. With both of us in agreement, Mr. Machio and I faced each other after a certain pause.
“Hah, hah, hah. Here we go, Earth.”
Mr. Machio dropped to his haunches, got down on one knee, and put his hands on the ground.
Not unlike a quadruped beast.
This stance was…
“Magical Crouching Start.”
“A short distance start that explodes accumulated energy. That’s how I’ll hit you straight in the face.”
No assembly, no bullshit. Just a straight dash that charges straight at me.
That was Mr. Machio’s final blow.
And since this was a match I proposed, I won’t do anything tactful like stepping around it.
Even so, I can’t use my legs much because of the damage to my stomach.
Against the full speed and full force of Mr. Machio’s last lunge, I’ll just have to meet it head-on.
“Then I’ll unleash a full force right straight shockwave. It’s a great swirling spiral shockwave.”
“Yes. The shockwaves from the speed of sound fists that I acquired during these past three months of training. I’m going to unleash it in a huge spiral.”
From the breakthrough state, take a breath with Magical Breathing and regain magical power.
Then, I condensed all the magic power that was completely recovered into my right fist.
[Here, this… the entire venue is quiet. Everyone knows. The next one will settle everything. Everyone is watching. Which one is stronger!?]
The place was silent.
Even Elder sis Tsukshi, who was on the verge of tears, no longer made a sound.
She just put her hands together and prayed.
She was praying to god… that hard.
“Lady Kron. It will end with the next.”
“Ara, is that so? I’m very, very nervous.”
“Yes, and it will be decided. …… your… companion.”
“So… show me, Earth Lagann. With my own eyes, let me see… that!”
Then the moment arrived at last.
The ground made a sound as if it had exploded, and Mr. Machio came straight at me with a roar.
This can’t be stopped by my right straight, corkscrew or smash.
So, if you want to meet this head-on, there is only one right answer.
『Go on! If that is your answer!』
My master’s final push. I’ll use it without hesitation.
“Let’s go! I won’t let anyone get in the way!!”
Focus, Inflate, Harden, and, if you can afford it, give it shape and if you can afford it, make it spin!
“That!!?? Ear……… ah…”
“Sadiz Big Sister? Wh….. what’s wrong?”
“Ah… I see…… ah… I’m…… ha… ah―――――eehh!!??”
With the shockwave generated by protruding the huge spiral that I created by wearing the magic power that shines green at the speed of sound…
“Wowoooo! 【Arcane True Zenith Cannonball Tackle】!!”
“【Great Magic Spiral・Earth Spiral・Sonic Impact】!!”
I was interrupted last time.
But not this time.
I won’t let anyone get in the way anymore.
And I’m going.
『Tis so, go! child!』
―― Well, anyway… shall we proceed?
―― Oh, let’s go.
Back then, I swore…
『”To the End of the World!!”』
A huge cannon clashed with a swirling spiral.
And, the final match was settled.
The only ones standing in the arena are the host and… me.
“Ah… ka… ugh… ah.”
Mr. Machio was deeply embedded in the wall of the arena.
Mr. Machio’s rush and the shockwave of my spiral.
The results were clear.
“Ts, ga… well, I… already…… limit of Super Magic Recovery, dashed all up…”
Mr. Machio didn’t lose consciousness, but he didn’t seem able to stand back up from the wall, perhaps because he had exceeded the limits of his skill.
And, his expression was somewhat refreshed and relaxed, as if he had given everything he could.
“How strong. The top who aims for the world… use me as a stepping stone… and run up to wherever you want to go.”
In the current situation, the audience and the host are still unable to raise their voices, Mr. Machio declared to everyone present…
“I give up… it’s my loss.”
Mr. Machio, who had always taken the opponent’s attack, declared defeat, saying he couldn’t take any more.
Everyone gasped at those words, but the next moment…
“Oh…… ah… Machio was defeated…”
“That Machio… to big brother.”
“Older brother… beat uncle?”
“Earth, you bastard… so awesome! Oraaah!”
“Uh huh…… uh huh!”
“Uooooooooh, a, amazing!”
Gradually, words began to leak out, and finally…
A cheer so loud that it shook the ground echoed through my entire body.
“Huh … hah… won … I won … me …”
During the match, how do I defeat Mr. Machio?
That’s all I was concentrating on.
However, when I won this way… now what…… it was my first time.
“I … won … is it okay… to win …?”
I naturally clenched my fist tightly.
However, I didn’t feel happy right away, and was a bit confused.
“Yes. You won, Earth.”
“I gave it everything I had and you completely overwhelmed me. You’re number one.
The victor. I’m number one.
Number one? Me?
“That Earth, he’s amazing! Amazing! I can’t believe he beat that Machio!”
“Oraah! You bastard, what a match!”
“It’s great… I, too…Me too!”
“I’m gonna do it… I also! I’m gonna get stronger!”
“Well done, young man!”
“Yeah, that was cool!”
There was an explosion of cheers.
The applause didn’t stop.
Everyone smiled, even Mr. Machio smiled at me and congratulated me.
“Yeah… is … is that right?
Even with so much noise, winning was not a goal for me, but a challenge.
So, this result means that we are properly on schedule… but……
“Is that right… the winner… me…”
Before I noticed, I closed my eyes and was remembering all that had happened.
―― It’s a match! The winner of the Imperial City Young Swordsman Tournament is Rebal!
―― As expected of the Second Sword Saint!
―― The son of the great hero has been defeated?
Ah… why is this…
―― Wow, such amazing magic power! This magic is one of the highest in the history of the Academy admission!
―― What a talent, Fu Meday!
―― Well, what about Hiro’s son?
―― It’s… not low, but compared to Fu… meh.
Why? Why am I now… remembering the past that I haven’t thought of lately at all?
―― She scored perfect marks in all subjects on the final exam, and topped the overall grade! Princess Phianse is a child prodigy!
―― And what’s more, her spearmanship is also amazing, isn’t it?
―― Yes. I heard that Hiro’s son has never won a single mock battle with the princess, you know?
It doesn’t matter anymore, does it?
The past is already… unimportant… so why, of all things, do I have to remember this now?
―― Hey, did you hear? Rebal and Fu are going abroad on a special study program!
―― Wow! Princess Phianse has been praised for giving a wonderful speech to other countries during this time!
―― Yes, the next generation of heroes who draw the blood of the Seven Heroes! …… him? Well~, that one…
―― h, him, I suppose?
I’ve always heard what everyone thought of me and what they said about me.
That’s why I cared about the evaluations of others and I was sensitive to the voices around me.
―― Oh, Earth’s grade on this comprehensive test has improved from the last time, right?
―― Ah. He can’t reach the princess’s perfect score, but as always…
―― Well, he’s the son of a hero.
No matter what I did, I never felt a sense of accomplishment.
But when I met “that guy,” I put in the most intense effort of my life to break free from the half-heartedness I had been experiencing, and what awaited me was…
―― Why is that? Why? The Great Demon King Tre’ainar, the Master… Big sister Mamu overthrew him… Why can you use the power of the Great Demon King Tre’ainar!?
―― What got stronger… if you want to be strong, is anything acceptable?
It was the worst day of my life.
―― Earth, what are you doing? And why did you hit Lord Hiro? What is the technique of the Great Demon King? Calm down, explain it from the beginning and convince us!
―― That’s right, Earth. As it is, even if it’s self-abandonment, will anything be gained? Everyone’s anger will be directed at Earth.
―― He, the nerve to brush the princess off!?
―― Have you fallen that far!
―― To raise your hand to a woman, the lowest!
―― Kick him out of school, that guy right now!
―― Warrior disqualification!
―― Permanent expulsion from the warrior world!
And I ran away.
[Yes, without question! The winner of the Arcane True Zenith Style Fighting Tournament is~~ Eaaaaaaaaartth Lagaaaaaaaaaannn!! Congratulations! That is the best of the best!]
The words reached my ears, not an auditory hallucination.
“Blessed to witness the birth of our new strongest man!”
“Earth! Earth! Earth! Earth!”
“Yes… I can only say that he is really amazing? Machio seems to be safe too … I’m glad…”
“Well, Big~ Brother~… Big brother! Congratulations!”
“Older brother! Kyaho, Kyaho, Kyaho!”
I opened my eyes, and the result was definitely not a dream.
“How wonderful! Earth won! How lovely it was! Machio was also amazing! Everyone who participated in this tournament worked so hard!”
“Fufu. However, the winner is Earth Lagann… Lady Kron.”
“That’s right. I would like to congratulate Earth for his hard work!”
“Yes. Then, Lady Kron, let us go down. For the award ceremony.”
“Yes! Congratulations to Earth!”
There was no princess here. There was no Rebal. No Fu.
No father or mother here.
But I won.
For the first time, I became the best.
“Tre’ainar… I….. I won.”
『Indeed. Tis obvious to all.』
“…… Thank you…”
『The victory is yours.』
I couldn’t find the right words. However, I would like to thank my mentor who was closer to me than anyone else and guided me.
“Oh, hey, Sadiz Big Sister!?”
That’s when it happened.
As the crowd cheered, Sadiz jumped down from the audience into the arena.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen those eyes…
“There are so many questions I want to ask, so many things I want to say, and most of all, so many things I want to apologize for… I can’t even begin to tell you, but… but… all the same, before anything else…”
“At that time… I… I should have said this… I… uh…it may be late, but… maybe I don’t deserve it…but… even so…… please let me say it.”
And Sadiz stood in front of me…
“You’ve grown really big, great, and… really…… you’ve really become stronger… Little man”
It’s the original Sadiz. Oh, I see… her memories…
“As expected… just as you’d expect of Earth Lagann. The power, the effort, the glory of the victory that he grasped at the end. I, Sadiz… was deeply moved… from the bottom of my heart… I’m proud of Little man.”
Ridiculous… why now… it’s too late… don’t suddenly turn about… I tried to say.
“…… don’t mes … wit … oh … ust leav… already … already … I…”
But I couldn’t get the words out.
And everything I was enduring broke down there.
I couldn’t do it anymore.
“Congratulations on your victory. Little man”
“Ah… uh… Ah…….. u…….”
I’ve always wanted to hear those words.
Three months ago, I wanted those words so badly that I could scratch my throat.
However, the words that Sadiz said then were too heartbreaking.
I finally heard it.
She said I got stronger.
It’s not because I’m the son of a hero.
It didn’t matter about the Demon King’s technique.
I gritted my teeth, trained, learned, and finally grabbed the glory with the skills I had acquired.
But those words just genuinely seeped into my whole body.
Yes. Right now, I won’t talk to Sadiz about what happened or what’s to come.
Now, only for this moment, I just forgot about it all, and accepted the blessing with open arms.
And just like back then, and this time in public…
“…… ugh… ah! Uo, ah … uh… Uuuuuuuh!!”
But these tears were completely different from that time.