The Varow group attacked under the cover of the constant rain of arrows and Gawiik’s group had no choice but to respond to them, so they intercepted the attack to try to stop it.
「Kou! Hurry and get back to Lef and Karen!」(Gawiik)
Gawiik gave Kou this order while taking cover behind Mandel’s shield as he was trying to figure out his own timing to jump out. He channeled his magical energy through his enchanted sword “Wind Cutter” and surrounded himself with its power. His opponent was the vice-captain of the Varow group, the female swordsman Stua.
When he engaged he had to keep the Varow squad in his line of sight as much as he could; it would be dangerous for him to turn his back on them.
After a while Stua had closed the distance, but it was Gawiik to made the preemptive move. Due to the natures of their swords, Gawiik had to keep making the first move, constantly repelling Stua’s sword by swinging the “Wind Cutter”. His opponent’s sword would create a shockwave if he tried to block it, so he needed to evade it.
As sparks were scattered through the air from Gawiik and Stua’s swordfight, Mandel and Karvan had also locked swords nearby. Both of them were heavily armored so they were able to fight without worrying about the arrows.
While the front members were battling, Varow’s arrows rained down incessantly on the rear members of Gawiik’s group. Though Varow was only a single archer, the rate of fire of the mechanical bow was such that by the time an arrow arrived at its target the next arrow was already fired.
As Kou returned to Lef and Karen and picked up his heavy shield, he was engaged by the warrior and Magician who had charged in under the cover of Varow’s arrows. Because Kou was acting as a wall to protect Lef and Karen from the arrows, he could not separate himself from them. He faced his opponents with Karen’s backup and Lef’s offensive magic.
The warrior and Magician of the Varow group had taken position at a certain distance under the cover of Varow’s arrows, with the warrior covering the Magician with his enchanted anti-magic shield. As the warrior looked for an opportunity to charge in, the Magician aimed offensive spells towards the enemy archer and Magician from behind him.
The front members and rear members were both making their offensive and defensive moves, with both sides receiving covering fire from Varow. His influence on the battle was small, but he was dominating the battle in a way.
Mandel’s precise attacks had a good balance of offensive and defensive ability while Karvan excelled in defense. The fight between them was even as they traded blows with both of them gradually getting exhausted.
However, the one with a calm mind was Karvan. He knew that Captain Varow was dominating the battlefield. Even if he were to fall together with Mandel, they would win the match. Mandel was also aware of this, so he was slowly getting more desperate.
In the swordfight between Gawiik and Stua, Gawiik was running around while attacking so that the “Crumbling Wave Breaker” would not release any shockwaves, slowly pushing Stua back. Stua wanted to make some kind of counterattack, but she was barely managing to block the fierce, high-speed attacks of the “Wind Cutter” so she was unable to make use of the power of the “Crumbling Wave Breaker”.
『--As I thought, he’s a formidable opponent.--』(Stua)
『--Don't panic, should I give him a hit?--』(Varow)
Giving Varow a signal through their communications, Stua leapt back to gain some distance and created a shockwave against the ground, kicking up a cloud of dust as a smokescreen. Gawiik chased her in, but faltered for a moment as he was blinded.
At that moment, Varow opened fire.
Knowing that Varow’s arrows would come for him if his opponent gained distance on him, Gawiik reacted incredibly quickly to deflect the arrows with the ability of the “Wind Cutter”.
「To think he could strike down all of those arrows with that timing...」
The crowd erupted in applause at the superhuman feat of deflecting arrows that were fired from the other side of a smokescreen. The arrows continued flying in and Gawiik continued deflecting them safely. However, Stua used that opportunity to go on the offense.
「This guy can really do some unbelieveable things, huh?」(Stua)
While admiring her opponent’s strength, Stua found a timing to go around and swing her “Crumbling Wave Breaker”.
Gawiik tried to dodge an arrow flying in from the side as he blocked the attack coming from below with the “Wind Cutter”, but he did not manage to evade it completely. He let out a cry of pain as he took the damage from the attack. As Stua pressed further with another attack from above, he parried it sideways. The explosive sounds of this battle were quite different from a regular swordfight.
This time it seemed he had managed to evade the attack. As Gawiik moved in to pursue Stua, she leapt back again to gain some distance. If he pursued her here the same thing would happen - a combination attack of arrows and a shockwave.
Making a quick decision, Gawiik jumped in the opposite direction from Stua. Mandel and Karvan were slowly approaching his way. He took cover behind them to avoid the arrows’ line of fire.
「You think quickly and your situation assessment is accurate. As I would expect of a famous, first-class captain like you, Gawiik.」
The one praising him was Stua. Even Varow was astonished that he had managed to dodge their combination attack so well. This was a two-on-one situation so Gawiik had no time to make a joking reply back. Even so, he gave her a fearless smile.
The rear members were facing the warrior and Magician, wary of the arrows that were constantly flying at them. If they got too close, the warrior would flank them and aim for Lef and Karen. Therefore, Kou was holding up the shield and maintaining a defensive posture without moving.
Their only way to attack the enemy Magician at this distance was Karen and Lef’s long-distance attacks, but Karen’s arrows and Lef’s magic were being blocked by the warrior’s anti-magic shield. This sporadic exchange of fire was essentially a stalemate.
The arrows fired from the other side of the members at the front were quite accurate, but they were being deflected by Kou’s body. From time to time they came from directly above; they were being fired at an angle. They were easily avoid if they looked out for them, but if they paid too much attention to the arrows the warrior would charge in and they would receive attacks from the Magician.
「It’s quite hard to put an end to this, isn’t it?」(Karen)
「... The situation is unfavorable for us.」(Lef)
The members at the front were struggling in their battle as well. If both sides continued simply grazing each other with their attacks and they continued to exhaust themselves, the Varow group had the advantage as Varow himself was completely uninjured. If the battle dragged out too long, the Shadow Artist that had been defeated at the opening of the match might regain consciousness and rejoin the battle. If that happened it would be very difficult for them.
Kou tried to think of a way to break out of this situation. If he went forward to attack, Lef and Karen would be exposed to danger. Because it was just a match, he could sacrifice one of them to defeat the warrior, and then the protection for the Magician would be gone and it would be easy to win after that. But such a method would never occur to Kou. At that moment, Varow’s arrows stopped.
It seemed that he had run out of arrows and was reloading a new box of arrows into his mechanical bow.
『If only I could use a projectile weapon too… The one I received from the professor’s aim is too inaccurate and it would just get blocked by that shield as well.』
As he searched through the tools in his dimensional storage for ideas and looked through his own memories, seeing a certain piece of armor, he remembered a standard method of attacking from a distance. The image of it being “standard” was a feeling he got from the scene in his memories
「Vooh, vaah~」“Lef, Karen, can I get your attention for a bit?”
「... What is it?」(Lef)
Using this pause in the rain of arrows, Kou created letters across his back to tell them the plan. He requested a combination attack from both Karen and Lef. They would keep the warrior unable to move while Kou moved into a position where he could target the Magician.
「What is that...?」
The Golem that had been protecting the archer and Magician suddenly began running forward. Guessing that it was running forward to back up the members at the front, the warrior of the Varow group waited for an opening in the combination attack so that he could charge in. The Magician behind the warrior also began to gather magical power for a counterattack as well.
After running to a position that was horizontally in line with the enemy warrior and Magician, Kou halted abruptly. He brought out a heavy, armored gauntlet from his dimensional storage and -
- he threw it, aiming at the Magician. He could not remember clearly what exactly a “rocket” was, but he had an image in his mind of it being something with amazing power.
It was a dull gray fist that cut through the air as it flew forward. Seeing the Golem hurl a hand at them was so wildly outside of the warrior’s expectations that he was slow to react. The Magician who had been preparing for a counterattack was completely taken by surprise and was unable to dodge in time. The heavy, armored gauntlet scored a direct hit on the Magician, who somersaulted before falling to the ground.
The warrior froze for a moment as he realized that they had made a mistake and Kou used that opening to fiercely dash towards him.
Kou closed the distance in one movement. With a crashing sound, he struck his opponent with the giant shield. No matter how perfectly equipped he was, the warrior could not withstand a powerful attack from such a heavy shield.
With this, things began going in Gawiik’s group’s favour.
With the threat to the rear members being reduced, Kou headed forward. Running past where Gawiik and Stua were fiercely crossing swords, he held his shield up to block his continuous fire and went to strike him.
「Tch, they got us good!」
Varow changed his equipment to a spear and prepared to engage. Now that the cover of the mechanical bow was gone, Karen and Lef could move in to provide backup for the battle between Gawiik and Stua and the battle between Mandel and Karvan. The Varow group were now completely cornered in a disadvantageous position.
「Vaauuh~」『This person is so strong~』
Varow had sent the heavy shield flying and was precisely targeting Kou’s ankles and knees, maintaining a distance where Kou’s punches could not reach him. Kou’s running punch hit nothing but air. A strong thrust from the spear struck Kou’s ankle accurately, causing him to lose his balance. Even as he fell, Kou twisted his body around to aim a falling spinning kick at Varow.
The giant fell onto the ground with a loud crash, kicking up a cloud of dust.
Although he was able to dodge it, Varow felt a chill at this completely unexpected attack.
「If I got hit by that attack, my neck would have been broken!」
As Kou tried to stand up, Varow got a strong attack in Kou’s neck, forcing him onto his back, then began stabbing him all over his body. As Kou tried to cover various parts on his body, he focused his attacks on those parts.
Kou tried to grab the spear that was repeatedly stabbing him, but it was quickly withdrawn. When he tried to stand up again, an attack came to knock him off balance and roll him around on the ground again. He was being pressured so that he could not stand up, while being searched for any weak points. Kou could feel the overwhelming difference in their ability.
Deciding that attacking while rolling around would be better if that was the case, Kou rolled sideways to gain some distance.
「Daah - Shit, what the hell is this thing?!」
Varow moved towards Kou’s head so as not to be swept off his feet. Suddenly, one of Karen’s arrows flew at him and he deflected it with a spin of his spear. Finally out of the spear’s range, Kou was able to stand up.
Kou knew that he would be put on the ground again if he charged in carelessly, so he changed his strategy to corner him slowly and put pressure on him.
While this was happening, Karvan had been defeated thanks to the assistance of Lef’s magical attacks, so Mandel came to support Kou.
Karen had provided backup for Gawiik as he fought against Stua. Even though a single blow from the “Crumbling Wave Breaker” would have been a critical hit, Gawiik had finally overpowered her with the high-speed attacks of the “Wind Cutter”.
「Kou, keep going just like that! Mandel, go from the left, I’ll go from the right!」(Gawiik)
「Damn it - !」
The only one left at the end of the fierce fight was Varow. As Kou, Mandel and Gawiik all attacked him with Karen’s backup, he was defeated.
「And that’s the end - ! The winners, Gawiik’s group!」
As the announcer’s declaration of the battle’s outcome rang out, the arena was filled with loud cheering.
「They were strong...」
「If this was a real fight, who knows what would have happened.」
Varow was lying on the ground, gasping for breath. Around him were the members of his group, and Gawiik’s group was sitting nearby, trying to catch their breath. Karen was brushing off the sand that was covering Kou’s body with a handkerchief.
Both groups were basking in the afterglow of the match, not even particularly exchanging any words. After a while, they returned to the waiting rooms.
「See you later, Gawiik’s group. If you come out onto the battlefield, let’s fight together.」
「Yeah, if the countries get caught up in some diplomatic dispute, I hope we’re on the same side.」
Expressing their desire to not be enemies in the future, both groups turned their backs to each other and left the stadium.