Breman: See what I mean by “women trouble”, Di Qi Ju.
Di Qi Ju: Haha…I guess so.
We left the scene as it slowly regained its normalcy, our destination, Reitdarke’s best educational institution.
Throughout the entire trip, we had two not-so-stealthy stalkers tailing us.
Naysis Ferne: *stareee*—-
Di Qi Ju: How long do you think they plan on following us?
Breman: It’s fine…it’s not like I haven’t had my fair share of women clinging to me. If you pay too much attention to her now, it will lead to a lot of trouble down the road.
Di Qi Ju: Ah hah…thanks for that bit of information which I’ll never get to use in my life.
Di Qi Ju: By the way, are you sure this is really alright? If I didn’t know of your real identity beforehand, I would’ve thought that you had a harem somewhere.
Breman: It’s not like I’m interested in women, where would this harem come from. From my experience, this kind of girl would lose interest soon enough. Let’s get down to serious business instead.
Di Qi Ju: We’ve already finished registration so what’s next?
Breman: That would be to book a dinner seat for Three’floral Dawn.
The National Fragrances. According to Breman’s brief introduction, it was the most famous entertainment center in Reitdarke’s Corridor.
Its services encompassed the entirety of the entertainment industry, whether big or small. Its activities included, dining, gambling, bars and other sorts of entertainment.
From ritzy fine dining to budget set meals, there was something for everyone, from the rich to the ordinary tourist. With the added benefit of a robust security system for its patrons, it was no wonder that the National Fragrances had been prospering for the past 10 years.
It was in such a setting that we had to reserve a suitable seat for Three’floral Dawn.
As we walked through this establishment paved with gold, the opulence of our surroundings became more noticeable as we proceeded further in, as if to say “only the rich were able to get this far and deep.”
As we walked along the streets of the National Fragrances, the majority of the patrons we came across were men with voluptuous women in both hands.
Doesn’t look like a place suited for underaged teenagers from Earth, or ordinary women for that matter…
However…that blue haired girl still followed us in!
Di Qi Ju: Hey, Breman…
Breman: Ah, I know, I know.
Di Qi Ju: It doesn’t seem like she’s planning to give up.
Breman: Well just leave her be unless you wish to walk down this street while hugging me?
Di Qi Ju: No…let’s just ignore her then.
It wasn’t long before, we came to a stop in front of a resplendent hall. The grand hall was three stories tall and was built in the style of the local architecture; a slightly stair-like structure with the addition of a luxurious exterior.
The mix of gold, red and black gave the hall a refined and stately look.
If it wasn’t for the fact that Breman had told me beforehand that this was a restaurant, I would’ve guessed that it was the villa of a some royal family member.
Hung on the very front of the hall’s doorway was a plaque with two words on it which I assumed to be the only two words that could adequately represent this place, National Fragrances.
At the doorway stood a young server who unabashedly gave us an evaluating look before coming up to greet us.
Waiter-in-training: May I know if Sirs have a reservation?
Breman: We do not. There’s still some time before dinner and I wish to reserve a suitable table.
Waiter-in-training: I’m terribly sorry, but due to the Three Battles being so near our restaurant has been fully booked.
Breman: Oh? I seem to be remember that the National Fragrances has a policy of permanently reserving some tables for their guests. Has this changed in the past few years?
Waiter-in-training: I’m sorry but those are reserved for dignitaries.
Breman: So you’re saying I don’t look like such a person?
The waiter gave us another look, the suspicion on his face still as apparent as ever.
Waiter-in-training: Recently there has been a spike in the number of fraudsters we’ve seen. May I know if you’ve brought some form of identification?
A look of displeasure could be seen creeping into Breman’s eyes as he stared at the waiter.
Breman: Unfortunately, we don’t have any other form of identification except for our strength.
Waiter-in-training: Proving your identity with might is fine but our establishment isn’t responsible for any injuries incurred.
Breman: —those are my words. We aren’t responsible for any injuries inflicted on your staff.
Waiter-in-training: This way please.
If we were to use might—
…somehow I think I know how this will end.
Under the guidance of the waiter, we were brought to the first floor of the dining area. It was a vast, ostentatious room with golden trimmings all around which reminded me of the decor style the imperial family in ancient China plastered onto a giant meeting room.
The first floor was full of banquet tables with nearly half of them filled. The second and third floors were lined with cubicles that overlooked the first in a ring formation.
At the other end of the first floor was a multi-purpose stage that was probably used for dances, concerts or in this case, a show match.
Breman: That cubicle in the center of the third floor seems nice. Reserve that for me later on.
Waiter-in-training: Well…we can talk about that once we’ve verified your identity.
While the waiter still had the basic manners of a service staff, the displeasure in his tone was becoming more apparent to us.
In his mind, Breman was probably some rich kid wearing what looked like a military uniform while I was just an ordinary servant.
The waiter walked up to the stage and gave a resounding clap, instantly grabbing the attention of all the guests.
At the same time, I had noticed that Naysis Ferne and her attendant, Carmen, had also entered the dining room and were currently being led to their seats by another waiter.
Ah ah…why was our treatment so much worse…
Waiter-in-training: Honored Guests, while it’s not the official meal time, we have two guests who wish to fight for a seat.
Waiter-in-training: With the Three Battles just around the corner, this policy has been implemented in order to prevent anyone of unsuitable status from finding their way into the Fragrance and causing trouble for the other guests.
Waiter-in-training: These two guests wish to use their might to prove their status as soldiers. Now, we’ll have their show match be the opening act for everyone present.
Waiter-in-training: Their opponent is one of the top thirty-two experts of the previous “Battle of Loyalty”, his nickname is “Double Seventeen”.
Waiter-in-training: Please go on—
Two more claps later, a burly hulk of a man walked up onto the stage. He was roughly 30 years of age and was even taller than Mo Chuan. His body was astonishingly large, so large he didn’t wear a shirt but only wore a pair of tight fitting pants that barely crossed his knees.
Based on what we could see, he was basically hairless from top to bottom. His body, his hair, his beard and even his brows were totally clean shaven.
Essentially, he was a slightly skinnier but significantly buffer sumo wrestler.
He punched his fist towards and tightly clenched it, forming a rock solid mass of bone and flesh larger than my face.
Double Seventeen: My opponent, where is he?
Breman: Ah, is that all you’ve got? Looks like there isn’t a need for me to fight.
Double Seventeen: You…
In the face of such an obvious taunt, he merely shrugged it off and instead gave us a long, evaluating look.
Breman: I say, my little doorman buddy, since you’ve brought out a contestant from the Battle of Loyalty, does this mean that we will be fighting under the same rules as well?
Waiter-in-training: Not really, we’ll leave it up to you.
He casually said, the displeasure in his voice seemingly gone. Looks like he didn’t consider the possibility of our victory.
Breman: If that’s the case…
Before I could even see what happened, a dining chair landed in the center of the stage with a loud slam, wobbling to the sides for a second before stabilizing in front of us with a light thud.
Breman elegantly walked onto the stage and sat there as if he was the master of the room and stared at the gathered guests.
He calmly stretched out his hands and curled his fingers at me as if to say “please come over”.
Double Seventeen: …what’s the meaning of this?
Breman: Your opponent is my subordinate over there. However, I wish to be a witness to this fight right from the center of this stage.
Breman: Don’t worry, I won’t make any moves or leave this seat. However, if you wish to prove your foolishness, you’re free to attack me.
Double Seventeen: ……
Double Seventeen: That’s fine with me as well.
Breman: No regrets?
Double Seventeen: Of course not. Why?
Breman: Haha, as long as you don’t have any.
In the midst of their banter, I hurriedly plastered myself to his side and whispered in his ears.
Di Qi Ju: Hey, hey…Bro, there’s got to be a limit to how deep of a pit you throw me into—I mean, Sis! Exactly what’s going on here??
Breman: The basic rules of the Battle of Loyalty are, no weapons and no attacking your opponent once they hit the floor. The battle will continue until one side finally admits defeat.
Breman: If this was the Three Battles, you even have to strip off your clothing and put on an officially approved piece of clothing that was usually skin tight and thin.
Di Qi Ju: I’m not asking you about the rules of this battle…I’m asking…why are you sitting here? Is there some special meaning to it? Aren’t you exceptionally vulnerable to stray hits from here?
Breman: Of course there is. My bodyguard is busy in a head-on showdown. In the meantime, won’t I be vulnerable to some random Tom, Dick and Harry?
Breman: Given that, of course I have to place myself right in the spotlight instead of hiding among the crowd and giving my hidden opponents a chance to strike at me.
Di Qi Ju: Does this place…even have such people?
I immediately scanned the vicinity for any suspicious characters.
However, other than our two stalkers, I found no one else that fit the bill.
Just as I finished my surveying, Breman suddenly raised his voice—
Breman: Make sure to go easy on him, Di Qi Ju. You’ll ruin our dinner if you kill him by accident.
Di Qi Ju: …
Double Seventeen: ……
Waiter-in-training: Hmph…if there’s nothing else, shall we start?
Breman: —go ahead.
Di Qi Ju: ……
Di Qi Ju: Sigh—-
And so, my current situation ended up like this:
Me standing on the right of the platform facing off against the hulk on the left side of the platform.
On the right was the spectating Breman. On the left, beneath the platform were the guests sitting around their rounded banquet tables.
Why did he have to boast that loudly like a common military thug…
Was it because…you couldn’t secure your footing in a country like Skill and Reitdarke without doing so?
I guess that’s the only explanation.
Waiter-in-training: In that case—let the show match begin!
Double Seventeen: Rawr!
As those words left his mouth, Double Seventeen rushed forward and at roughly two body’s length away from us, extended his clenched fists while breaking into a furious charge.
I didn’t even have time to put up a defence before he was already right in front of me. I raised my hands instinctively and tried to block him but his fists easily evaded them and dove right into my abdomen, sending me flying back instantly.
Di Qi Ju: Hmm?
My back collided with the wall with a loud slam, the scene of that adventurer getting knocked down by Mo Chuan’s fist flashed through my head in that instant. Was that how he felt as well?
This hulking man in front of me seemed to be stronger than Mo Chuan and even more agile as well…
Guests : Ohh—–
I slumped to the ground right away, a cracking sound resounding around me as I did so. It sounded as if my bones had shattered completely from that impact. I guess if I was a normal person, my innards and bones would’ve turned into a giant meat stew by now.
As I was recovering from the sudden impact, Double Seventeen was already in the midst of his victory speech—
Double Seventeen: Does this count as my win, Young Officer?
Breman: He hasn’t even lost so why are you being so hasty?
Double Seventeen: That punch alone contained 80% of my strength. Anyone who takes it head on, even if he was stronger than me, would not be able to stand up any time soon.
Double Seventeen: If your little friend wishes to keep his life, he should hurry up and call for a doctor.
Breman: 80% huh…
Breman: In that case, you might as well surrender right now.
As he looked at the direction Breman was pointing at, his eyes popped out of its sockets as he stared at the shocking scene in front of him.
That look…honestly, I can’t say that I like it very much, especially not the ones the guests were giving me right now.
All I did was stand up like an ordinary person would, dusted off my body and walk towards that burly man.
If I didn’t have to consider Breman’s standpoint, I would’ve just laid there and pretended to be dead…
Breman: I don’t mind if you punch him another thousand times, we can continue until you collapse from exhaustion.
Double Seventeen: ……
Breman: But if he decides to make a move, you probably won’t have a chance to punch again.
Double Seventeen: ……
Breman: Well then, what will it be?
Double Seventeen lowered his head and stared at his clenched fists that refused to loosen.
Double Seventeen: Then…
Double Seventeen: We can continue this slowly outside of the ring.
Waiter-in-training: …congratulations Sirs. Please allow me to lead you all to your seats.
Di Qi Ju: Phew…
Naysis Ferne: Mhm, interesting!
Special thanks to Steve Granger!!
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.