After the match with Geoff, William took a few moments to have a combat debriefing with Chris. Though, since Chris couldn’t talk, it was mostly one sided. “Good job Chris. Especially blocking that lightning bolt. Are you okay?” William though Chris looked fine, but maybe he was injured under the surface. However, Chris responded with a blue “yes”. “Good. When we get some more time, I’ll have to ask how you can do that. For now, I guess I have to talk to my friends.” William had noticed Lila and Marius walking towards him.
Marius was the first to comment. “Isn’t that the cursed staff from the dormitory? How’d you get it to let you wield it? Or even… not beat you up.”
“Well, I’m not completely sure,” William responded. He had a pretty good idea, but he wasn’t actually sure yet. “I wouldn’t try holding him though, he’d probably beat you up. Would you?” William looked at Chris, who glowed blue. “Yeah, best to avoid touching Chris.”
“Chris? What a profound name,” Lila said. Well, his name did sound a bit special and mystical to those who were raised in this world. The naming system was rather different. Even William was actually not the completely correct way to pronounce his name, but it was close enough that he considered that to be his real name.
Lila and Marius spent a few minutes admiring Chris. William had to admit that he was pretty awesome. He was pretty lucky to have met the conditions to be accepted, though he thought that it might have just been treating Chris like a person and talking to him. He would ask later in private. Especially since he could only really get yes or no answers at this point.
Several teachers also came to look at Chris, but they didn’t come near, except for Professor Pierce, who grinned. “I can always expect interesting results from you, can’t I?”
William shrugged. He didn’t know what to say to that. “I just thought it was a waste that an amazing staff was gathering dust, especially when he’s only sort of cursed.”
“Sort of cursed?”
“I’m… not sure yet. Actually, I only tried because I didn’t want to lose.”
“Here is where, as your elder, I should tell you to not take such risks. However, since your gambles have all paid off so far, all I can say is, continue to do well.”
Internally, William also acknowledged that Professor Pierce wasn’t even technically his elder. He did have a lot more knowledge of this world and experience with magic, but William was still technically older. Which was strange, because Professor Pierce had grey hair, and William’s body was a teenager.
William’s other opponent for the day wasn’t anywhere near as much of a threat as Geoff. Now that William had Chris, it wasn’t even a problem at all. William reminded himself not to get overconfident, though. Tomorrow, he was going to be up against Lila. If he lost, he would fight against whoever of Geoff and Marius won their rematch. Since they were now both at one loss, they would fight again. If he won against Lila, she would fight in that match. Since she would likely win, she would then fight against William again. She would have to win twice, since two losses were required to knock someone out of the tournament. Likewise, if he lost now, he’d have to beat either Geoff or Marius and then beat Lila twice to obtain first place. The tournament structure was definitely more complicated than single elimination style, but it made it harder to get a low place from just bad luck.
William wanted to defeat Lila today. He had a good chance, with Chris. Although he’d never been able to defeat her before, he had a chance this time. He didn’t know whether Lila had come up with any new tactics, though. Well, even if he lost, he would still place well in the tournament. However, even if not for the sake of picking rewards first, he wanted to win. Though he wasn’t too prideful in general, it was still somewhat embarrassing to keep losing to a teenage girl, even if she was undoubtedly the strongest among everyone of the same age.
William faced Lila across the battlefield, and the match started. He advanced towards her cautiously. Even with Chris, he knew he couldn’t afford to be reckless. Her chant was complete gibberish. Unlike Geoff, she knew that the actual words didn’t matter, and thus she didn’t need a magical item to conceal her words. William made a mental note to try to figure out why there needed to be chanting but it didn’t matter what it was. It would be a good topic for research, once he got to the point where he would be doing that.
Lila’s spell finished when William was only about a third of the way across the field. She was talented at gathering mana, and since she didn’t have to finish a specific chant, she could finish spells quickly. William dodged out of the way as soon as he thought the spell was finished, in case it was a lightning bolt. He would likely still get grazed even if it was.
However, this spell was not a lightning bolt. Instead, it was a fireball. If that had been it, William would have been fine. He even thought he could avoid those tricky curving fireballs that Lila could do, that would change trajectory. However, this was… two fireballs? They were a bit smaller, individually, but that didn’t make it better. William couldn’t avoid them both, and they also both changed trajectories. They exploded on both sides of him, but it wasn’t enough to make him give up yet. It was rather painful, but neither of them had actually connected directly.
William sprinted towards Lila, hoping to reach her before her next spell completed. It seemed she had needed to concentrate on the two fireballs, and hadn’t had the chance to start the next spell until they exploded. This gave William a slight opportunity. However, just before he reached her, a wall of earth appeared. That wasn’t a big problem, since William could just go around it. It’s not like it was blocking any spells he was casting.
He should have known that she wouldn’t use a useless spell. Before William could move around it, it started moving towards him rapidly. He wasn’t far from it, so he couldn’t dodge. It collided with him, although Chris tilted forward to blunt the impact. Thus, William only blacked out for a few seconds. However, it was pretty clear that he had been defeated, in just two spells. Well, if the match had gone on much longer, William would probably have gotten to Lila, and she might have lost. William decided to gracefully surrender.
After William got his relatively light wounds treated, he went to see the other match. Next up was the rematch between Geoff and Marius. William wanted Marius to win, but he thought he would rather fight Geoff again, since he was pretty sure he would also win a second time. Marius would be trickier. However, he still wanted Marius to win more, since he liked him. He sat down to watch the match, with Lila. There was no reason they couldn’t cheer on their friend together just because she had crushed him in a duel a few minutes ago.