Difference between revisions of "Rakuin no Monshou:Volume2 Chapter6"

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[[Image:Rakuin no Monshou v02 247.jpg|thumb]]
 
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They were what allowed Orba to win throughout his two years as a gladiator. He had devised a number of ways of retreating to lure the enemy in. Sometimes he would initiate, sometimes he would be on the receiving end, and sometimes he would take actions to anger his opponent, all to pull the opponent into his pace. However, they all provedl ineffective against Pashir. His firm posture was wholly free of any openings. Because Orba understood this, he could not move.
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They were what allowed Orba to win throughout his two years as a gladiator. He had devised a number of ways of retreating to lure the enemy in. Sometimes he would initiate, sometimes he would be on the receiving end, and sometimes he would take actions to anger his opponent, all to pull the opponent into his pace. However, they all proved ineffective against Pashir. His firm posture was wholly free of any openings. Because Orba understood this, he could not move.
   
 
Gowen himself gritted his teeth in impatience, as time freely passed. And it was not only him. Amidst the tempest of jeers raining down on them, those the least bit curious in knowing the victor of this sword match could feel the heavy tension between Orba and Pashir, and their faces turned rigid as if they were standing there themselves.
 
Gowen himself gritted his teeth in impatience, as time freely passed. And it was not only him. Amidst the tempest of jeers raining down on them, those the least bit curious in knowing the victor of this sword match could feel the heavy tension between Orba and Pashir, and their faces turned rigid as if they were standing there themselves.

Revision as of 10:07, 30 January 2014

Status: Incomplete

31% completed (estimated)

   

Chapter 6:The Branded

Part 1

The day of the final match, it had been all the talk since morning.

The Gladiator’s Guild had announced the pairings. Orba and Pashir would not directly confront. That was the one thing the people found most regrettable.

“When it comes to speed, then it has to be Orba. Pashir’s slow as an ox. Honestly, if those two duked it out, the battle would be settled in an instant.”

“That’s not true, Pashir doesn’t make any useless movements. He’s different from Orba who continually moves around. Those little clever tactics of his won’t work against him. If the fight is drawn out even a little, Orba would run out and stamina and be at an overwhelming disadvantage.”

At the street corners, in front of food stalls, within party venues, people argued back and forth about the gladiator match. This wasn’t limited only to the citizens of Solon, but also included the nobles. They would engage in a heated debate over who would survive, betting horses, unusual paintings, or even ten slave girls, busying themselves in wagers that flaunted their status.

Amongst the heated debates posed the question that, supposing Orba and Pashir expectantly survived, which of them would receive the honour as the dragon-slaying hero Clovis.

“If it were His Imperial Majesty,” one such noble suddenly spoke with a pompous air, “I believe he would likely want Orba to inherit the title of Clovis. After all, he is the hero who defeated Ryucown. If he were to win this and the image of him being a former slave stamped out, in goes without saying he will have earned the title of corporal or captain, he might be given the whole Solon garrison company!”

And as the time approached the evening juncture that held the deciding match, the emperor himself made his appearance, as to personally hand over the golden helmet to the victor. The Imperial Guards and slaves that accompanied the emperor, totalling roughly some thirty men, occupied the upper half of a reserved grandstand.

The figures of the imperial princess and her friends, as well as Garbera’s princess, Vileena, and her head maid, Theresia, were also present.

In the grand stadium, several battles were taking place. Once a pair finished, another pair would be sent in to fill the vacant spot, and so these battles went on without end. However, as the strength of the blazing sun waned, the vacant seats throughout the stadium began to slowly stand out.

By evening, the final battle ended. The sounds of the gladiators and their clashing weapons below them suddenly came to a dead silence, and conversely, the enthusiasm of the crowd knew no end as their roars resounded like a tidal wave.

After a short intermission that held them further in suspense, the four swordsmen who fought fiercely through their battles and won made their appearance, each armed with a weapon of their choosing. One carried a long spear, another stood ready with a battle axe and Orba carried his usual longsword.

So it’s finally time.

Orba murmured to himself as he rested the sword on the back of his shoulders. He may have thrown himself into the gladiator ring, but it wasn’t as if he wanted to, and it was now finally coming to an end. Next would be to use what he heard from Pashir about the plan to corner Noue and Oubary and obstruct the scheme Zaat was assisting them in.

Right now, they were likely watching the scene unfold from above, enjoying the spectacle of the slaves killing one another from their safe haven.

Once I end ‘this’, you guys are next

He was fired up, different from how he usually was.

The orator called out their four names, and then saluted the emperor. The four men also did the same, and the emperor lowered his chin to face them. At the same time, one of the accompanying Imperial Guards presented to him the golden helmet with both his hands. Attached to the left and right were a pair of wings, the mark of the hero Clovis.

That was the signal to start. The ground shook as the arena erupted in pandemonium and the battles began.

Orba’s opponent was a giant exceeding two metres in height. To add to that, he wielded a long spear. With a difference in reach that made him hesitant to take even a single step forward, Orba was quickly cornered. Not to mention, he had sustained injuries from his battle with Gash.

Before the end of the third thrust, Orba had fallen backwards. The arena went into a stir. The giant thrust his spear down. Orba rolled sideways towards the giant’s flank, and jumping upwards, slashed at him. Blood gushed out from the giant’s neck the moment Orba’s feet touched the ground. Orba’s single slash was well-aimed and cut open his opponent’s artery.

The giant crashed onto the floor. And in little time as well, Pashir settled his match. His victory was more clear cut. Just when it he appeared to put some distance between he and the axe-wielding man, he flung his sword over his shoulders and threw it with all his might. The sword hit spot-on and pierced the enemy’s heart.

Silence dawned on the five thousand spectators for a short moment. Not even a minute had passed since the battles began. Her hands wrapped in prayer, Vileena exclaimed a breath of relief.

“It seems they weren’t a match,” the emperor, Guhl Mephius, muttered absentmindedly. He blinked his eyes with unmistakable signs of boredom and spoke to his wife seated beside him.

“Neither were fit to be their opponents. What do you think, Melissa? Don’t you want to see a battle between real men?”

The empress replied in modest moderation, a manner befitting her age that betrayed her appearance. “Yes, I would” she assented in honesty. The emperor lowered his chin.

“It would be upsetting to have it end like this. Pashir and Orba; these two shall now contest. Until the match ends in victory or defeat, the handing over of Clovis’ helmet will be put on hold.”

Those seated in the surroundings all looked up at the emperor in shock.

On hearing this, the arena rose into a commotion, and soon roused in agreement. They were also not satisfied with the amount of bloodshed, and most of all, wanted to know which of them was truly stronger.

What?

At the shock of the sudden turn of events, Orba instinctively glared up at the emperor. The sword in his hand smelled immensely of blood. And now he would have to stain it with even more blood. The blood of none other than Pashir. The muscles on his arm throbbed.

On the other side,

“Please wait, your majesty,” Simon said as he stood up. “This differs from our annual custom. There exists no other reason for this tournament than to single out the select two swordsmen.”

“Do not fret over the details, Simon.” The emperor pointed towards the ring. “Honestly, I am unable to determine which of the two is more suited to inherit the title of Clovis. To have them fight and hand the golden helmet over to the winner—there’s no method more decisive than this. Should the loser die, we can have the Guild choose someone fit to act out his aide, Felipe.”

Seated beside Simon, who now stood speechless, Fedom was panting heavily. As he was about to get up and suggest a proposition, he would find himself slumping backwards onto his chair on reconsideration each time. The emperor grew more and more self-righteous each passing day. He was like a naked blade, that if Fedom did not tread carefully around, would cut him to pieces.

“Orba and Pashir! Both of you, return to the front of the gates!”

A soldier commanded them.

“Tch”

Orba spat out. His insides felt like they were on fire.

It’s always like this. They control people’s lives and fates without a second thought.

“Haha, that was a something to see.”

Pashir said. By ‘something to see’, he was likely meant him spitting out through his mask. Pashir wasn’t the least daunted at how things ended up.

“Are you going to listen them?”

“The emperor said it. No one can go against that. You’d best ready yourself.”

Saying this, Pashir turned his back to Orba. His branded back heaved up and down. Orba called him to a stop in a hurry.

“Wait, Pashir.”

“I may be the leader of the rebellion for the time being, but it can’t be stopped even if someone tries to put a dent on it. So don’t hold yourself back. Let’s fight to kill to our heart’s content. This’ll be our final gladiator match.”

“Pashir.”

A stadium slave ran up to Pashir and interrupted them, and while wiping away his his sweat and pretending to look after him, spoke in a low voice.

“What if you two put up an act? Orba is popular amongst the citizens. It should be fine if you fight normally and then have Orba drop his sword in surrender to you. The people should spare Orba’s life.”

“That won’t work,” Pashir shook his head, “The people of Solon are used to seeing arena battles, and will immediately see through any concern for the opponent’s life during the match. We can’t have them becoming suspicious of the slaves’ relationships now. You already know it. We’ve no choice but to kill each other.”

“—“

Orba silently lowered his head. His motives differed from Pashir’s, but Orba also harboured a motive no one could ever imagine. Noue, Oubary, and Zaat...not a single one of their actions were to be trusted. “Let’s swear on it.” Pashir spoke as a matter-of-factly, “No matter who wins, he’ll carry the weight of these souls. Even if you die, I’ll take on your feelings. I swear to have Gil Mephius’ head. And if I die, you’ll take on my feelings; free all the slaves and burn Mephius to the ground.”

At those words, Orba felt a lump in his throat and was unable to give an immediate reply.

Take on his feelings...

It went without saying that Orba hated Mephius. How he dreamed countlessly of cutting off the necks of those nobles with the swing of his sword by his own hands. However,

“Yeah...”

Orba said while nodding, in a voice that seemed like another person’s.


The two parted and moved towards the east and west gates. The slave called Mira wiped off his sweat and replaced his sword with a new one. Her face was pale and unsteady. It was clear she held feelings for Pashir, even though Orba had met her only two or three times. Orba tried to open his mouth, but couldn’t think of anything to say. She wished for Pashir to win. That meant Orba’s defeat—and his death. And that sat fine with him. Orba also held his own reasons for surviving, even if it meant defeating—kiling Pashir.

Is it really fine like this?

Such a thought tore at his chest. Orba shook his masked face. It wasn’t fine. Why was he hesistating now? Yes, he bore a hatred towards Mephius similar to Orba’s or one that might even have exceeded his, and Pashir’s goal resembled his own; in the not too distant future, they would surely stand side by side and fight as comrades.

Damnit! Don’t think too much into it.”

He grasped the handle of his sword with renewed vigour. To make matters worse, Orba was covered in wounds. Even the battle just now took what little of all his remaining strength. How many more times after would he have to wield his sword to his limits? Orba hadn’t the faintest idea.

Victory seemed to get further and further away from his grasp. His blade would never reach his target if he thought of the things to come while swinging his sword.

I’ll end it in a single blow.

Orba decided. He would swing with his full strength one time, when he saw a surefire gap. Failing meant death.

“To the east, Iron Tiger Orba! To the west, Strong-armed Pashir!”

The two called names approached each other in the centre of the arena.

“What could be the meaning of this? Did that not end it?”

Vileena breathlessly watched in suspense at the sudden development. The crowd’s cheers were tremendous, such that they rendered Theresia’s voice inaudible. However, a brief exchange of glances, and she was able to calmly understand what she was saying. In the midst of this frenzy, a strange tranquility drifted between the two who were about to kill each other.

“Start!”

Both parties swung their swords into a clash and then jumped back in retreat.

Solon’s grand gladiator tournament; here, the fight to determine the strongest man commenced.

It was a fight unprecedented in the long history of Mephius’ gladiator fights.


As soon as the match began, the one to charge forward was Orba. He ran straight for Pashir with the tip of his sword skimming along the ground. Pashir bent his knees in ready. Orba immediately kicked off the ground to Pashir’s side. Faster than his opponent could react, he jumped once more. Orba planned to settle the match in this instant. Pashir’s legs, arms or back—he would jump in at any gap in defence he saw and finish Pashir off before he could recover.

However, Pashir stopped following Orba with his eyes and immediately rolled forward. Getting up in no time at all, he turned around and swung his sword. Orba began to chase after him, but the swing prevented him from advancing further. Orba received the blade with his own and jumped back.

Their unending exchange of blows since the beginning made everyone in the arena to go wild with excitement.

And then they approached a standstill, by the very definition of its meaning. The two ceased all movement, making their previous fast exchange of blows seem like a lie.

Orba stood as he always did, with his bent back eyeing Pashir’s every move. The arm that caught Pashir’s attack had gone numb. A bead of sweat trickled down under his mask. It was fair to say his initial movements had drained him of the majority of his stamina. He pushed for a short, decisive battle, but Pashir had completely seen through his movements.

Come Pashir! Come, come, come!

It was dangerous for him to move. Pashir stood with both his massive legs entrenched on the ground as blood pulsed through their muscles, ready to crush him at a moment’s notice. Jumping in would be his last, and he would easily have his attack turned on him.

So instead, Orba glared at Pashir through his mask, waiting for him to move. He still held the advantage of speed. Of course, it would also be dangerous if the enemy came charging in, but it would also make it more likely to find holes in his defence.

However, Pashir did not move. He held the sword with both hands above his shoulder, not budging an inch.

Tch

Orba struck the ground with the arch of his feet. His sword flickered. He jumped in a direction different from his line of sight. However, the actions of his feint were unable to perturb Pashir.

The evening wind blew beneath his mask.

The spectators had suddenly returned to silence. The thousands of eyes fixed their attention on these two swordsmen of unfathomable skill. An expectant tension hung in the air, where the outcome might be decided in the next blink of an eye; however, these two did not permit the slightest movement.

Ten seconds, twenty seconds, thirty seconds—time ticked by. A minute passed. Two minutes passed. Everyone held their breaths, but it did not last for long.

“Get him!”

Someone shouted at the five minute mark. “Kill him!” a girl shouted after him.

“Get him! Get him! Get him!”

“Kill! Kill! Kill!”

Everyone present stamped their feet in unison and burst into a clamour of boos. They created the racket in hopes that it would rouse them to movement, but still the two did not move.

Orba was also getting impatient. His sword and armour had never felt so heavy. Standing alone strained his muscles. In the previous clash, Orba had set aside everything for a single strike, but was uncertain whether he could exert his full strength even on that single strike.

Move

Orba prayed deeply.

“Don’t move”

Gowen spoke, while he acted as bodyguard in the grandstands.

“Don’t move in a fit of impatience, Orba. Keep that bad habit of yours in check here, please.”

Pashir likely saw through that habit from bearing witness to all of Orba’s battles until now. Orba excelled in countering. In terms of physique and power, Orba came out as mediocre amongst the gladiators, and suffered many disadvantages in a direct confrontation. Therefore, he founded on circling his opponents and luring them in. And when the enemy was pulled into his space, he would deliver a strike aimed at their vitals.

Especially because of this, Gowen lectured him time and time again, “Don’t let that quick temper get ahead of you.”

A quick temper was detrimental to his fighting tactics. Techniques that allowed him to provoke his opponent and gain control of their emotions were essential.

Rakuin no Monshou v02 247.jpg

They were what allowed Orba to win throughout his two years as a gladiator. He had devised a number of ways of retreating to lure the enemy in. Sometimes he would initiate, sometimes he would be on the receiving end, and sometimes he would take actions to anger his opponent, all to pull the opponent into his pace. However, they all proved ineffective against Pashir. His firm posture was wholly free of any openings. Because Orba understood this, he could not move.

Gowen himself gritted his teeth in impatience, as time freely passed. And it was not only him. Amidst the tempest of jeers raining down on them, those the least bit curious in knowing the victor of this sword match could feel the heavy tension between Orba and Pashir, and their faces turned rigid as if they were standing there themselves.

Some wiped away the sweat dripping down their chins.

Like a candle just about to go out, the setting sun wringed its last drops of sunlight and covered the arena in a crimson red—

Suddenly, the match progressed into motion.

“Ah,” everyone in the arena let out.

The one to step into the light and aim towards the enemy was Pashir. He appeared to have been the one unable to bear the overly unusual standstill. However,

“Orba, NO!”

Gowen screamed.

Part 2



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