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Chapter 9 – Jessica and the Start of the Death Game
“Tilea-san, will you really be okay with a game?”
“Leave it to me, Jessica-chan. I’m bad with fighting, but using my head is my strong point.”
Tilea-san was filled with confidence, but I was terribly uneasy. So terribly, terribly uneasy. I couldn’t even picture her winning against these guys.
The demons in front of me had more to them than just their incredible mana. I could see the intelligence in their eyes.
My mana might not be that great, but I have a little bit of confidence when it comes to using my head. But if you ask me if I can win against these guys without losing, then the answer would be no. Depending on the contents of the game, there’s more than enough of a possibility that I would be horribly beaten.
Mm mm, I can’t think such cowardly things. Otherwise I’ll even lose games that I’d normally win. Anyway, I need to ask for the details of the game and then form a proper plan. It looks like Tilea-san was curious as well, because she ran over to Horus and asked,
“Well? What’s the game about?”
“The game we have prepared is called Element Predict[Element Prediction Attack and Defence].”
Her expression turned blank at the unfamiliar word. Are we really going to be okay? I wonder if Tilea-san can follow his explanation… I’m feeling really uneasy.
“I will explain from the basics. Though you are a feeble human, no doubt you know of the elements of magic, correct?”
“E-, Elements? Y-, Yeah.”
“And of course you know of the compatibilities and relationships between the elements?”
“What? Don’t tell me you don’t even know that much.”
“N-, No no, of course I do… It’s umm, yeah, that thing. Yeah, compatibilities. Yep, yep. Compatibilities and relationships, that stuff is like common sense, you know.”
Oh geez, Tilea-san nodded, but her expression told me that she was just pretending and had absolutely no idea. Horus also gave a suspicious glare.
“W-, What’s with you? A-, Are you doubting me? It’s no problem. I totally get it.”
“…Well, fine then. Element Predict is a game that involves the affinities and relationships between the elements.”
“Hmm~ I don’t really get it. What are the rules, specifically?”
“For the rest of the explanations, seeing it yourselves would be faster. Human, follow me.”
Horus brought Tilea-san and I into a small room in the ruins. From what I heard, it’s going to be a game about the magical elements.
The elements are fire, water, wood, earth, wind, lightning, light and dark; eight of them in total, and each of them with their own compabitilies. Fire is strong against water. Wind strengthens fire. That kind of thing.
For example, a sword with the fire attribute would do less damage to a fire element magic beast. So using water attribute magic or weapons would be more efficient. One of the popular opinions is that we should be fighting with elements in mind.
“We’re here. Enter.”
When we entered the room, I was assaulted by such a strong smell of blood that I felt like I choked. Guh-, it’s true that I was on the battlefield earlier, but I can’t help that I’m not used to it yet.
I felt like I was going to throw up any minute, but I desperately endured.
“Ku ku, little girl, do you hate the smell of blood? You’re smelling the blood of all the earlier victims to this game. Naturally, we were not the losers.”
“What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue? Your blood is going to join theirs, you know. HUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”
Horus laughed with a cruel smile.
I’m scared. I knew it, but demons really are scary. How can we play a game with somebody so…
And what’s more, a game of life and death. Even at best, we’re already being exposed to their demonic pressure. Is it even possible to think clearly like this?
I don’t think so. At least, it’s impossible for me.
But Tilea-san is here with me. No matter how terrifying they might be, she never yields. She’s like the sun. Even when Horus intimidated us a moment ago, she was completely firm. Here I am, trembling pathetically instead. You can’t even compare the two of us.
I turned to the side, and begged Tilea-san with my eyes.
“Hii-, i-, it’s blood. Everywhere, blood… Wa, wa, wa, wa, aah, I got ahead of myself… Oh god, oh god, a death game is completely, completely impossible. Somebody help. Myuu, Maira-san, Remilia-saaaaan! Hahh, hahh, of course nobody’s here… Jessica-chan, help.”
Tilea-san muttered to herself in a small voice. It didn’t look like Horus and the others heard, but she begged me for help. My eyes and her eyes met as we tried begging each other for help.
Haha, Tilea-san, with your power, why are you looking at me like that? You’re acting almost like some feeble town girl.
“Tilea-san, why are――”
“Jessica-chan, I’m sorry! Of course. You must be scared, right? And you’re still so young… I’m such a pathetic adult. Asking you for help just made you uneasy… Everything’s going to be okay, now. So don’t make that face anymore, okay?”
With those words, Tilea-san faced off against Horus. None of the fear from before was left on her face.
Huhu, what a strange person. At first I thought she was a dreamy oneesan, but after travelling with her, that fantasy completely collapsed. She’s stubborn and childish, and often she just sort of drags me around. But then, just like a moment ago, she’ll also take the attitude of a reliable guy.
Haha, I can’t understand her at all.
But there’s something I do know.
Tilea-san is determined now. So there’s nothing left for me to be afraid of.
I don’t know when, but the fear inside me disappeared.
“Horus, you called yourself? Your little threats are pointless. Because we’re going to win.”
“That’s the spirit. It’s a death game, so it’s not interesting if you’re petrified.”
“Well? What kind of game are we going to be playing here?”
“There are eight swords, and eight helmets in this room. Each pair belongs to one of the eight elements. You can find the labels on the sword handle and underneath the helmet.”
“Can I have a look?”
“Very well. See for yourself.”
Taking a sword and helmet from Horus, Tilea-san checked them over. There really was a label there.
“Jessica-chan, was he telling the truth about them being attributed?”
“Yes. I’m not that great at using Trace Magic[Investigation Magic] either, but I can tell that the labels are correct.”
“I see. Are there traces of anything suspicious?”
“It’s probably… okay, I think… I’m sorry. I’m not good with these sort of analyses, so I can’t say for sure…”
“No, no, that’s fine. Thank you. I just wanted to see if they were tricking us.”
Nodded to herself, Tilea-san handed them back to Horus.
“Are you satisfied now?”
“Yes. Well then, what are we using these for?”
“Let’s say you have the fire attribute helmet on, which has resistance against fire. Because of that, even if I attack with the fire attribute sword, you’ll take almost no damage. This holds true, even taking our mana into account.”
To demonstrate, he struck the fire helmet with the fire sword, but there was just a metallic echo, and not a single scratch on the helmet.
“On the other hand, if we instead do the opposite and use the water sword…”
When Horus struck down with the water sword, to say nothing of the helmet, even the metal table below it was pierced.
T-, This is…
These aren’t just your normal compabitilies. When the enchanted items interact, they synergise to the extreme.
“T-, This isn’t your normal elemental weaknesses――”
“Indeed, girl of the Academy. These items have been made with their elemental enchantments brought to the extreme. So even if a feeble human uses it, they can accomplish what I just did.”
“Are these created just for the game?”
“That’s right. Eight pairs for each of the eight elements. We guess each other’s choices. The attacker attacks with a sword, while the defender defends with the helmet.”
“Then this isn’t any different to just fighting normally! It’s obvious that the demons have the advantage!”
Tilea-san objected after hearing Horus.
“Relax, blonde girl. We have specifically made seperate sets for humans and demons, with the elemental enchantments adjusted for fairness. If the game isn’t balanced, then it would hardly be a battle of wits.”
“I see. Well, I’ll trust you on that for now, but…”
“We will alternate between attacking and defending after each turn. And then, ku ku ku, we continue until one helmet breaks and somebody dies.”
“…Then because of your tougher bodies, you demons have the advantage.”
“I do not deny it. However, we could simply kill you without the game. I think you should be grateful to us for the small chance to prevail. What’s more, you said that using your head is your strong point, didn’t you? If you predict well, you can just continue getting ‘no damage’ for yourself, and ‘critical damage’ for our side.”
To confirm, I asked,
“Can we expect that the other elements behave the conventional way that I learnt in class?”
“Yeah. That’s exactly right.”
Horus then continued on to further explain the relationships between the elements. Just as he said, the compatibilities were just like what I learnt in school.
I see, so if you use the fire sword against the fire helmet, it’s no damage. But changing to wood, earth or wind swords will multiply the base damage. And using a water sword will maximise the effect for critical damage.
“Your first opponent shall be I, Gesu-sama, the Captain of Horus-sama’s Blitz Unit. Now then, which of you will start?”
With those words, a very cunning looking man stepped forward.
His attitude is arrogant, but he seems the careful type, and seems to have a rather determined personality. A match with him is going to be quite difficult.
Even if we’ve been given a handicap, it’s impossible for me. Just how many critical hits would I need just to break through a demon’s defence…?
I had considered being the one to play depending on the game they presented, but for something like this I’ll leave it to Tilea-san.
“Tilea-san, could you go please?”
“Y-, Yeah. That’s fine, I guess…”
Tilea-san seemed a bit unsure. Could it be that even with her power, she’s still nervous in front of a demon?
“I’m sorry. My power isn’t enough to handle a demon. But with your――”
“No, no, there’s no need for you to play, Jessica-chan. Like we agreed earlier, you just keep a look-out for cheating.”
“I understand. Then, is there something else that you’re worried about?”
“Well, I just kinda wanted to say…”
“I don’t really remember the rules, but ummm, what’s wood strong against again?”
“U-, Umm, excuse me. Could we please get a pen and paper?”
W-, Well, I guess it can’t be helped, right? Tilea-san never took lessons in this sort of stuff. Deep down I’m still feeling uneasy, but I’ve placed my hopes on her raw fighting strength.