Undying C90: Stares (draft)
Breman: Welcome back, Di Qi Ju, how’s the taste of your first victory?
Di Qi Ju: My neck was turned into a pincushion, how do you think it feels...
Having just returned to the backstage, Breman came up to me with a cheeky greeting.
Now that my own Death Match had finished, today’s matches were mostly over. Of those I knew, it seemed like only Naysis and her attendant’s matches hadn’t finished yet.
Taking this opportunity to speak to me before my other friends arrived, she came up to my ears and whispered.
Breman: I need to leave for a while, I’ll leave the rest to you.
Di Qi Ju: Hmm? What are you up to?
Breman: I hear Ferdila is currently searching for “Breiya” pretty urgently, he probably wants to confirm his victory as soon as possible.
Di Qi Ju: Oh, that.
Di Qi Ju: That bet is actually winnable right?
Breman: Of course, no one wants to lose after all. You don’t have to worry about this matter, just focus on finding that sinner.
Di Qi Ju: Oh...mhm.
One’day High: Yo, Little Ju, how’s the taste of your first victory?
Di Qi Ju: That question sounds familiar…
One’day High, Mo Chuan, Halfmoon Leak’age and the Lee’sole Shot who wasn’t a part of today’s festivities, had all turned up in the backstage.
Di Qi Ju: Did you guys win?
One’day High: That goes without saying.
Halfmoon Leak’age: The opponents were too weak for us to lose.
Mo Chuan: It was so easy I had nothing to do.
Di Qi Ju: If you had to step in, that meant that things had really gone south, Mo Chuan…
One’day High: I say, aren’t you a strong one, Little Ju.
Di Qi Ju: Huh? Why?
One’day High: What do you think, Leak’age-chan? If Little Ju was your opponent, do you think you can win?
Halfmoon Leak’age: That huh...if we are battling under the rules of a Death Match, my only chance at victory is to swindle him into admitting defeat.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Also, how many times do I have to say this, don’t call me Leak’age-chan…
One’day High: I think so too. Perhaps Little Ju might have the strength to become the champion of the Battle of Death!
Di Qi Ju: Oh...err is that so?
One’day High: Of course, of course, I can already picture the sight of the King christening you with a title and awarding you your honors.
One’day High: Under the watchful eyes of the throngs, the title announced by the King should be…
One’day High: --- “The Undying One” or something along those lines right?
Di Qi Ju:...
One’day High: You will end up as the focal point of the entire country, countless people will try to dig up your secrets and even more people will try to find a way to defeat you and take away everything you have.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Is that truly for the best? The champions of the Three Battles only enjoy a brief moment of celebrity status that quickly fades away and disappear, a lot of personage in the past…
(TL: There are a couple of missing words here in the raws so this is just my take on what the author meant to write.)
Halfmoon Leak’age: Just like…
One’day High: Are you talking about “Sword Soul”? Well, I guess that’s true.
One’day High didn’t seem to share that concern at all as he raised his eyebrows in a carefree manner.
One’day High: However, once Little Ju assumes the title of “Undying”, who can stop him from basking in the glory?
Di Qi Ju: I won’t do that. However…
Di Qi Ju: Don’t you guys feel uncomfortable around me?
Mo Chuan: Uncomfortable? Why should we?
Di Qi Ju: In your eyes, do I seem like a monster?
One’day High: ---if you want to call yourself a monster, then I’ll just introduce myself as a “monster’s friend”!
One’day High: Just think about it, with a friend like that, who would dare to cause trouble for me? Anyone who doesn’t appreciate such a powerful patron should have been eliminated by society long ago!
Mo Chuan: The way you put it...
Halfmoon Leak’age: Just like a calculating merchant.
One’day High brushed his recently tidied up short hair and gave an uproarious laugh.
That image was totally different than what I saw in the wilderness. Thinking back to the One’day High of the past, his smiles always felt a little forced and his calculating nature was nothing but him burying his emotions in his heart.
The One’day High now gave the impression of someone coming out of a box and revealing their true self for the first time. It felt genuine just like the “Master Halfmoon Leak’age” I saw underground.
It’s not that bad to be honest.
As long they continued accepting these parts of me, they should be able to accept the “real me” soon.
One’day High: Oh right---there doesn’t seem to be a reason for me to continue the Battle of Death huh?
One’day High: Time to forfeit.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Mhm, me too.
Di Qi Ju: ...eh?? Why??
One’day High: Our target was Nine Heaven but he had already been eliminated by you, Little Ju.
Halfmoon Leak’age: If I’m not going to be matched up against Nine Heaven, there’s no reason for me to continue fighting.
Di Qi Ju: But…
Halfmoon Leak’age: However, I’ll continue participating in the Battle of Righteousness since he hasn’t been eliminated from that.
Halfmoon Leak’age: That blow he gave me that day, I still haven’t returned the favor yet.
One’day High: I’m sure you will teach him a lesson, Leak’age-chan.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Seems like we are in agreement on that, I’ll make sure to fix him up real good.
Di Qi Ju: About that, the “opponent you cannot overcome” that One’day High was talking about that, it’s…
Halfmoon Leak’age: There’s only me left.
Di Qi Ju: ...will you be alright?
I asked out of concern but all I got in return was an enigmatic smile from the man.
Halfmoon Leak’age: What do you think?
Di Qi Ju:...
Di Qi Ju: Fifty fifty?
Halfmoon Leak’age: Fifty fifty eh…
Halfmoon Leak’age: If we were to fight for real, as long as I have a ten percent chance of winning, then my opponent has no chance of winning at all.
Mo Chuan: Sounds like boasting to me.
Di Qi Ju: Ah hahah…
If I hadn’t witness his true abilities for myself, I would’ve probably come to the same conclusion as well.
Mo Chuan: Since everyone has already made up their minds and there doesn’t seem to be any matches left, how about we leave early?
One’day High: Yeah, at most it would be that Little Ju might want to research some of his opponents but such trivial matters shouldn’t even matter to him.
Hold on, if I leave now, my mission to find the sinner would be interrupted.
There were still some contestants I needed to observe in the backstage...I need to find some way to make them stay for a while.
Di Qi Ju: I say---oh right, didn’t Naysis Ferne just step onto the stage?
Halfmoon Leak’age: She won already, she’s over there right now talking to her attendant, look.
Di Qi Ju: Oh…
One’day High: How did you get acquainted with such a person, Little Ju?
Di Qi Ju: We happened to meet each other in school while going through remedial theology classes.
Di Qi Ju: ---there’s only one match after hers right? In that case, how about we just stay to watch the last match?
Di Qi Ju: Look there, the princess’ attendant and her opponent has just stepped onto the stage.
One’day High: Sigh…
One’day High: I’m not really interested in that, I’ll go pack up my equipment first. When you guys are done, just give me a shout. See you all later.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Why doesn’t he want to watch the match?
Mo Chuan: Probably because it reminds him of that person.
Mo Chuan: Didn’t he mention that he broke up with his lover in a place like this?
Di Qi Ju: Ah, that’s true…
One’day High and Savile Kuine huh…
I wonder if he was thinking of her now.
Mo Chuan: Hm??
Suddenly, Mo Chuan raised his head, his wolf ears twitched in the air as he did so.
Di Qi Ju: What’s the matter?
Halfmoon Leak’age: ...it suddenly became quiet.
Mo Chuan: Mhm, for that brief moment, the spectator stands suddenly became silent.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Did something happen on stage? Did someone die?
Mo Chuan: If that really happened, I guess there’s no helping it….
Before we could even walk out of the tunnel to check out the situation, the clamor of the crowd already gave us the answer we were looking for.
What was originally a gigantic coliseum that was able to hold tens of thousands of spectators who were perpetually engaged in wide variety of disparate topics and chatter…
At that very moment, it seemed like all that had disappeared and instead, they were all chanting the same thing.
Crowd:---Sword Soul!---Sword Soul!---Sword Soul!
Cheers that sounded like they were welcoming back the triumphant savior of the country, exploded from the stands above us.
The entire resting area seemed to tremble from the excited stomping of the crowd which began to mimic an extremely orderly earthquake.
It was as if the world was devoid of anything but cheers and stomping.
We exchanged looks with each other before slowly turning towards One’day High in unison.
One’day High was still squatting in a corner with his back faced to us. His hand seemed to had been frozen in time while it was in the midst of fiddling with the fire and water dragon.
It was as if he had turned into a statue. Rigid yet brittle.
He seemed so brittle, it felt like a single touch would cause him to shatter into a million pieces.
Judge: ---unbelievable, absolutely shocking! A crushing victory that could only belong to our champion, “Sword Soul” Savile Kuine!
Judge: Or perhaps I should use her current name, “Savile Carmen”!
Judge: It was merely a few seconds, a few seconds! That’s all it took for her opponent to collapse and lose his ability to counterattack or move for that matter!
Judge: There’s no mistaking it! That’s the strength that only the Double Champion of Skills’ Three Battles, Sword Soul, could possess!
Judge: Her sword pierces every corner of the void as she elegantly and firmly subjugates her opponent under her feet!
Judge: Even heavy armaments would fall before her deadly rapier! Hidden weapons are nothing but tools to help her extraordinary agility shine even more!
Judge: Furthermore, there’s no one who can match up to her in a proper weapons fight!
Judge: I’ll say this one last time! Victory belongs to our great champion, “Sword Soul” Savile Carmen!!
Judge: All ye faithful believers of strength and glory, rejoice---!!
Crowd: ---Sword Soul!!---Sword Soul!---Sword Soul! Woooah----!!!
Their stares seemed to continue for several centuries.
The entire backstage seemed to have seized up as the two of them gazed at each other, their faces completely stiff as they stood there facing each other.
The only motion I could make out was their eyes blinking.
Perhaps, this was how they communicated and outsiders like us simply didn’t understand it.
For all we know, that moment of silence hid a countless number of emotions and words that passed between the two of them.
I remembered that he had mentioned this in his account before:
The day he and Savile broke up, it was also in a similar situation like this where they stared at each other wordlessly till their individual matters finally split them up.
Now, it seemed like time had reverted itself to that day.
Reverted to the point where One’day High was still in the dark about these matters, to the point where they were still lovers.
Back when Carmen heard the name One’day High, I clearly saw the expression change on her face.
There was no way I could describe that expression with my limited vocabulary but there’s one thing I was certain about.
“If she was really One’day High’s Savile, then the moment they meet, they would definitely reunite with each other”
...that was the expression I saw.
I discreetly patted my companions who were still quietly watching One’day High and Savile, and signalled for them to leave with me.
Seeing as no one was able to interrupt them, then we should just let them have some alone time together. Perhaps when there was only them in the world, their wish might just come true.
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