Chapter 109. New Year’s Festival (10)

People flocked to the plaza in the center of the capital. It was located between the imperial palace and Great Temple. The reason why people showed up despite the early time was that there was a prayer meeting to announce the start of the New Year's Festival.

Thanks to this, the other trainees and I had to manage the horde of people who were filling the plaza. Looking at the crowds gathered in the plaza, I wondered if they had come to see the striking of the bell ceremony.

It was a little difficult because I was afraid that I would accidentally use too much force if someone didn’t obey while I was controlling the crowd. Still, since today was the last day of my trainee life, I was feeling exuberant.

Considering that Yuria and Alice had vacation starting tomorrow, thinking about being dragged around by them sapped my energy. But anyway, my vacation would start after today.

As the distant bells began to ring, the priests of the Great Temple started to climb onto the platform. The Archbishop, the Cardinal, and lastly, the Saintess came up to the platform as representatives of the Great Temple. The Saintess could be seen wearing a white veil.

As Saintess Hillis stepped closer to the platform, the buzzing noise of countless citizens in the plaza became quiet all at once. The plaza became covered with an indescribably large amount of divine power.

Hillis's divine power shined like diamond dust in the air, and the Saintess knelt on the platform in reverence as she recited prayers. A charming and divine voice resonated in the ears of every citizen in the plaza. It was even sweeter than a siren’s voice which was supposedly capable of captivating people.

The voice I heard yesterday was definitely not this beautiful. Some citizens shed tears at Hillis's prayer. Was this kind of thing possible with divine power? How interesting.

As she slowly rose from her seat after the prayer, the Cardinal beside her shouted, "From now on, in the name of the great God, I declare the beginning of the New Year's Festival!"

It was the beginning of the New Year's Festival.

* * *

Lisbon collected his mind in preparation for the main draw round of the martial arts competition. He wasn’t sure if he could really get to the main draw, but everyone he met in the preliminary round who seemed strong failed to show all their skills and were knocked out of the preliminary round.

Those who were in the preliminary round group alongside Lisbon were the mighty silver plate adventurer, Lalker, and the third class mercenary, Kavan. Considering this, it was almost a miracle that Lisbon, being only a knight school student, managed to reach the main draw.

The adventurers and mercenaries were divided into six ranks according to their abilities. In the case of the adventurers' guild, they distinguished their abilities and performance by a plate made of platinum, gold, silver, bronze, iron, and wood. And mercenaries were simply classified with numbers from one to six.

The silver medal adventurer and the third-class mercenaries in Lisbon’s group may have seemed ambiguous in terms of their ranking, but in reality, they were skilled people who could be considered high-level adventurers and mercenaries. 

Yet, for some reason, they suffered humiliating defeats to those who were clearly weaker than them. Lisbon thought something was strange about this, but thanks to this oddity, he got through the preliminaries easily. Although he was lucky, in any case, his advancement to the main draw was due to the skills he had accumulated.

Lisbon was preparing for the upcoming main draw and taking care of his sword’s cold blade when a red-haired beauty with a huge ax on her shoulder spoke to him, "Hey, you."

Lisbon looked around, then pointed to himself. "Do you mean me?"

"Yes, you."

When the red-haired beauty nodded, Lisbon put the sword he was working on back into the sheath.

"You can keep working on it."

Lisbon responded with a refreshing smile, "No, it’s all right. I'm done with my work, so it’s fine.        But what can I help you with?"

"Really? Then I have a question. How did you get to the main draw?"

Lisbon’s face hardened at the red-haired beauty’s question. "Are you saying my skills are not good enough?"

She laughed loudly when Lisbon made a serious face, "What? Ahhahaha! No, no. Rather, it's the opposite. I thought you were pretty good.”

Lisbon couldn’t understand what she was going on about. "What are you talking about?"

"Mmm, didn't you do it on your own? Then who was it?" She massaged her chin, still saying incomprehensible things.

"Ah, I’m saying that it's very rare for me to acknowledge someone else's skills. If my acquaintances knew, they might want to kill you out of jealousy. So anyway, what's your name?”

"My name’s Lisbon. I'm a student at the knight school." Lisbon answered with caution, unlike his usual self. 

Nevertheless, the red-haired beauty introduced herself with a cheerful smile. "I'm Rosellis, an adventurer. I’ll remember the name Lisbon. Feel honored."

Rosellis gave Lisbon’s shoulder a squeeze and departed with a puff of air. Lisbon was left staring in confusion after Rosellis suddenly spoke to him and left after saying what she had to say. However, the name Rosellis felt somewhat familiar to him.

"No way. The platinum plate, Bloody Rosellis?" Lisbon shook his head. 

If she were a true platinum adventurer, she wouldn't have participated in this martial arts competition. If she did, it would be no different than an adult participating in a children's competition.

The platinum plate was the pinnacle of adventurers that only five in the entire Empire had. If she decided to dedicate herself to the imperial army right now, she could start from the general rank. Why would such a monster bother participating in a martial arts competition?

"Haha, that's ridiculous." Lisbon soon denied the idea.

* * *

A man wearing a blue mask, Aquarius, looked down at the capital from the city wall surrounding the capital. Of course, it was impossible to see the whole area because the capital was too large of a city.

Still, in one glance, it was possible to see the palace, the streets of the market, the plaza that marked the beginning of the New Year's Festival, and the place where the martial arts competition was underway.

Originally, the place where the martial arts competition was being held would not have been seen due to the Red Magic Tower, but now the view was wide open due to the magic tower’s sudden collapse.

"Aren’t you going to stop Libra?" A woman wearing a pink mask, Virgo, asked as she stood behind Aquarius.

Aquarius smiled. "Do you know what Libra is trying to do?"

Virgo nodded at Aquarius. "Wouldn’t he be aiming for the Saintess? Since he lost the child he had before; he’s going to want a replacement."

The Aquarius tilted his head at Virgo's answer. "Mmm, you aren’t wrong. Aiming for the Saintess is correct, but it's probably not in the direction of what you’re thinking."

Virgo didn’t understand Aquarius. "So you're saying he isn’t going to kidnap the Saintess?"

Aquarius nodded. "Yeah, that child is in a completed state. Libra won't be able to control her at will."

"Then…"

"She will be a hindrance in the future, so Libra will probably try to kill her. New Year's Festival is a rare and good opportunity where the Saintess’s location will be known."

As the Aquarius said, the location of the Saintess was one of the most closely guarded secrets. In fact, if the Saintess were in the capital, one would assume she would be staying in the Great Temple, but Hillis was staying in a top-secret safe house that only her closest aides knew of.

At Aquarius’s guess, Virgo came and stood in front of him. "Then shouldn’t we be blocking him? In our plan, the Saintess has a pretty important position."

"I know, but it's not the time yet." Aquarius patted Virgo on the shoulder.

"If the Saintess dies, then that's all," Aquarius said in a tone that it was natural. Virgo sent a sad look towards the martial arts competition.

* * *

I was slacking off and hiding in the corner of the arena where the main draw of the martial arts competition was being held. In reality, all the work preparing for the New Year's Festival was finished yesterday.

The situation was the same with the other trainees, so I was sure they were playing around in the office. Nevertheless, the reason I was hiding here was simply because of the annoying possibility that I might be called back to work if I was in the office.

I also advised Flam to play hooky with me, but he refused, saying it was not in line with his beliefs. He was truly an old man living life in a tiring manner. If it was actually busy, my conscience might have been pricked a little, but it was fine to slack off a little when there was free time.

I took out the cookies I bought a few days ago from my pocket space and watched the main draw of the martial arts competition. It was said that very prominent figures were participating because it was advertised that the winner of this martial arts competition would receive the Saintess’s blessing.

To be honest, I wasn't that interested, so I let Flam’s words go in one ear and out the other. However, he talked about the champion candidate, Bloody Rosellis, so much that it ended up remaining in my ear.

To start, feeling like I was doing some illegal gambling, I followed Flam’s advice and bet on Rosellis. I didn’t know if this person was famous or something, but the ratio for her was only 1 to 1.07. Well, it didn't matter if the ratio was low since I made a profit from Lisbon making it to the main draw. 

For your information, the betting ratio for Lisbon advancing to the main draw was 1 to 37.8. An unknown knight school student with no performance history was in the same preliminary group as a famous adventurer and mercenary, so this ratio was natural.

I wanted to bet with platinum coins, but the limit was up to 10 silver coins. That's why I could only get 377 silver coins.

The reason why it was 377 coins, not 378 coins, was because I bet one silver coin on Alphonso, but he was eliminated. So I just removed the lost money, my precious money.

Well, I didn't think Alphonso would make it to the main draw in the first place. It would have been different if he could use magic, but he had no chance since the rules of the martial arts competition prohibited the use of magic.

Alphonso was not yet able to use even a quarter of his body’s capabilities properly. Alphonso said he was getting some pointers from Uncle Bloody, so he would probably be able to deal with one or two average knights easily in about three years.

Additionally, a family of four can live for a month on a single silver coin. My gains were enough to pay for the Horus's Eye that was used up at the ball and still have some leftover. I should buy Pushover a meal later.

The bell rang to announce the start of the main draw of the martial arts competition, and the shouts of the audience filled the stadium. The main draw participants came up onto the match stage, and the martial arts competition began.

The betting ratio for Lisbon advancing to the round of 16 was 1:28.3. Go Lisbon!

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