Chapter Prologue: Chapters 1 & 2 – Waking Up Underground
It was a dark basement. This space where the sun’s rays shone in from a small overhead windows were finely punctuated by cells lined up in rows.
In this prison-like cell I laid down to rest.
I was only laying down, not sleeping.
It was because of a certain noise I wasn’t able to sleep.
It was a noisy girl, it wouldn’t have killed her to do it more quietly.
The sound I heard was a female voice, I can hear the sweet voice, appealing, by offering flattery perhaps, to gain some pleasure.
“Here” is where as usual, the wardens perused the goods they liked for themselves.
Nobody cared, and even if they do nobody would lift a finger.
I quickly threw the threadbare blanket…the flea-ridden piece of cloth on myself.
Before long the voices faded, and silence returned.
It won’t be long until sunrise now, but I should get as much sleep as I can.
I closed my eyes, enjoying what short rest I can before dawn.
I came “here” before I was aware of what was going on.
When I realized it I was already here, I don’t know where I was before I came here, nor did I know how I got here.
I myself said that my age was 13 or 14, but still, I don’t know what it is exactly. As far as I could hear from the people who brought me up, they said I might have been sold by my parents, or maybe kidnapped by some robbers.
What this place “here” is can be clearly explained.
This was a place where boys and girls are gathered, and the perverted guests enjoy themselves by embracing them or making them kill each other.
I awoke to the coarse ringing sound of a bell and jumped to my feet.
The only thing I need to prepare was my own body.
Today is another day where I would have to battle for my life.
I left the small room, went to the mess room to fill myself with soup that looked like vomit, and awaited my orders.
“Finny, your guest is waiting upstairs so you hurry up and get a bath!”
“Dora! You’re accompanying the ladies! You’re allowed to receive money. Don’t let them hit you for free!” «TN: てめえはご婦人の相手だ！金払いがいい、下手打ったらただじゃおかねえぞ！»
“Aegir! You’ll be fighting. Hurry up and pick a weapon!”
The warden yelled and the kids gathered here dispersed.
This Aegir was me, it was a name that came out of some legend.
I got this name in a previous fight where I cut my opponent right in half from the top of his head to his crotch.
I don’t quite catch the others’ names, not that I’ll remember them.
At any rate, they all soon die so remembering them is pointless.
The expression of the man I’ll be fighting—though I call him a man he is only a boy not even 15 years old— changed when he was designated as my opponent.
The fight is in short, a match to the death, viewed by the guests.
The guests bet money, yell out cheers, and in the end enjoyed the gruesome spectacle.
There were not only one-on-one fights, but also off-color fights like fights against animals, or one-sidedly tormenting and killing little girls.
The reason why my opponent’s expression changed was me.
Unlike the others, I am seldom taken by the guests.
I am muscular and I’m not short, not the type that the child-ravishing perverts like.
I don’t have the manners and charm to keep the female guests company, either.
My job in “this place” is to fight, and when it comes to fighting, defeat means death.
The fights I have survived in “this place” numbered 100 battles and then some.
They took off my manacles and fetters and sent me off to fight.
The weapon in my hand is a greatsword familiar to me.
It was a two-handed double-edged sword, 1.2 meters long and probably over 10 kg in weight.
It looked clearly unsuitable for me who doesn’t even reach 160 cm in height, but this blood-and-oil ridden sword with chipped blades is how I survived until now.
My opponent’s weapon is a 60 cm long one-handed sword and a round leather shield.
Judging from how he took a stance and did trial swings with his sword, it wasn’t his first time holding a sword.
“You’ve picked the wrong equipment”, I muttered in my head.
There is no way a leather shield can defend against my two-handed sword.
His only chance to win was to land a blow by jumping onto my chest.
Shields would only hinder his movements and vision.
Of course I didn’t say that out loud.
The opponent is making it easier for me to kill him out of his own free will, after all.
The place is called the ‘Great Hall’, though no more than 20 people could go in at once.
In the middle of it there was an [arena] surrounded by iron fence.
Surrounding it, 10-odd chairs were laid down for the guests who were raising their voices, cheering and jeering.
Among them there are wardens wielding armor and spears, and the owner of “this place”, a porcine-looking fat man.
With him around then there must be a VIP among the guests.
That was the case every time that pig does anything besides raping girls, eating, drinking, or counting money.
That’s got nothing to do with me, though.
The pig was talking about how strong I am and how my opponent was going to face me.
He was exaggerating things, but with this the stakes are raised, so I can smile at that.
I simply faced my opponent.
There was nothing difficult about it.
If I win I can look forward to a tomorrow where I can eat as much as I like.
If I lose, then I’ll die here, that’s all.
I took a stance with my left foot forward and my sword resting on my right shoulder.
My opponent also braced with his shield and pointed the sword on his open side at me.
Well then, let the fight begin.
Will I kill, or will I be killed, we won’t know until it’s over.
The betting rounds closed at last and the great hall felt like it became prickling with tension.
This is a true fight to the death, if the guests were to watch this somewhere other than “this place” they would have to to resign their lives.
My opponent is about 3 meters away but I can hear his rough breathing from here.
If he’s breathing roughly like this before fighting, how was he even hoping to win.
I calmly assessed the situation, without tension nor carelessness.
I don’t have any physical defects that would become a handicap, either.
I am at the same condition as I was in my over 100 fights.
So I’ll probably win this, if I lost because something I didn’t think of or expect happens… well, I’ll just simply die.
*GOOOOONG*, the dull and boorish sound of the gong marks the start of battle, at the same time my opponent shouted as he charged towards me.
He rushed with his shield in front of him.
He closed the 3 meter distance in an instant, trying to stab his sword before I with my slow greatsword can react… but before that my greatsword blew him off, shield and all.
His weapon didn’t leave his hand, but he still got blown off aside and rolled 2-3 times. The audience started to stir.
My opponent got up and stared at me as if seeing something unbelievable, because I did not make any prior moves or the like.
There were no tricks, I was merely fast enough to swing my greatsword before he can take out his one-handed sword.
This is the reason I could survive until now.
It seems that it was strange for a boy my age to be able to swing a 10 kg greatsword.
I faced my opponent, still unhurt even though he was blown off, and charged.
I had no reason to wait for him to recover his stance, he raised his shield in desperation but my thick iron lump of a sword cut his left arm and leg along with his shield.
“It’s over!” “I lost 30!” “It’s Aegir after all!”
The match was decided with the loud cheers.
The match was decided, but the show isn’t over.
The crowd raised their voices, expecting the final blow, the requiem for the vanquished.
I don’t have any interest in tormenting the defeated, but he can no longer escape his death.
Therefore as my last compassion toward a man I shared my meals with I’ll give him instant death.
My greatsword groaned, cutting the head off of my wriggling opponent.
“Oooh!!” “Good job!!” “His head flew off!!”
Amidst the rising cheers, I returned to the waiting room.
My job ends here.
After this the owner’s men will be collecting the bet money and the guests will be talking excitedly while watching the blood and body of the fallen.
Nevertheless, I was intercepted by two wardens on my return.
They prodded me with a spear handle, urging me to go back.
That instant, I had a thought, but the answer came immediately.
After one-on-one battles, things like this happen a lot, where I had wolves set loose on me, or having to to fight 3 matches in a row.
Just as I expected, another man went in the fenced area.
His face was full of hatred, he was glaring at me with bloodshot eyes.
It doesn’t seem to be a simple taunt before a fight.
Could he be family to the man I just killed or something?
I thought my opponent today was unusually weak, but it seems it was just a scheme to incite hatred in this man by deliberately killing his relative before his eyes.
“Here here! The next opponent is the former knight apprentice Doyle! Does anybody want to bet on the victory of this man burning with hatred!”
As coin after coin was being piled up, this ‘Doyle’ fellow did not let his eyes off of me.
I have no knowledge of the outside world, so I don’t know what knight apprentice meant.
However, in my over 100 fights, I knew of people with this title, who could swing a sword quickly and accurately.
On the other side, Doyle is also analyzing Aegir.
He was still a kid, but he had proved that he could wield that greatsword around.
If I took a blow from it directly, nevermind a sword, even an iron plate shield won’t stand a chance… «TN: the author likes to abruptly switch perspectives like this, get used to it»
However, he did not have a shield of any kind, if I could get one stab at him he’d be finished in one blow! I will definitely avenge my brother.
Doyle’s sword is thin, like a rapier. It had no use besides aiming for the gaps in the enemy’s armor.
But here, where the fighters fight practically in the nude, it would be instant death no matter the weapon if he could strike the vitals.
Therefore it’s probably obvious that he saw sword that can be lightly handled as more advantageous than that iron lump of a sword.
That boy’s sword is overkill when used against an unarmored enemy.
The instant the starting gong sounded, I approached with a low posture and aimed at the boy’s neck with a quick attack.
The boy stepped back, evading it with a paper-thin margin.
While drawing back, he swung his heavy greatsword up, forcing me to also step back.
He’s fast! That’s not the speed of a person wielding a greatsword!
I did expect that he would evade, but he evaded without any superfluous moves and counterattacked from there. I planned to break his stance if I was lucky, but it failed.
Because his swordplay came about only from fighting here, his dirty movements are also self-taught… «TN: こんな所で戦っているだけあって剣筋は汚く型も我流か»
In that case I should move around from his dominant arm.
He should then immediately swing his sword, and if all goes well his flank should be unprotected!!!!!???
My expectation was right and the boy immediately swung the greatsword with one hand to his right.
What I didn’t expect was his speed.
After he swung his heavy sword back, I expected to be free enough to evade and launch a strike; that was the plan, but the speed his counterattack was rightly the speed of a thunderclap.
Then I heard a thunderous roar.
If I don’t let go of my shield soon he’s going to strike and split my face.
The shield split right in half, hitting the fence, and making a metallic ringing sound.
In contrast to Doyle’s terrorized face, mine was a calm one.
I saw his attack twice, this guy wasn’t fast, he was not a problem.
I held my sword over my head and stopped.
From the looks of it, my form was totally defenseless.
But this was a lure, a trap I could set up precisely because I can see through his attacks.
The next move will decide this match.
On the other side, Doyle saw a chance for victory.
He’s holding his sword overhead… Should I jump in… No, with a head start he’s going to swing his sword down and take me down with him even if I were able to kill him.
Then I’ve got to make him strike air first.
They both thought in an instant, Doyle leapt in, and the boy swung his sword down to strike and kill him.
Then expecting that, Doyle suddenly stopped and evaded the sword.
*Thwang*, a loud sound rang out, a few of the audience let out startled voices, but they were mostly in a daze, watching attentively, soundlessly for the result of the match.
I slowly pulled up the sword I swung down.
Doyle had a cut on him, just 10 cm deep, from his head down to his crotch.
His entrails dribbled out from the cut, and he slowly collapsed.
The match was settled with my last step, the step Doyle should’ve avoided by a paper thin margin, but I tore that apart by moving one step forward.
It’s not that I read his tactics and stepped forward.
I simply [saw him trying to evade] and made a step further forward.
This is the other reason how I kept my life: my [kinetic vision].
Today, as usual, I won against an enemy and lived on.
I did not experience an unexpected defeat.
The victory and the gruesome spectacle came simultaneously, and the audience roared.
Receiving applause from a satisfied-looking master pig, I returned to the waiting room.