0001 – Installing…

She stopped the alarm for the fourteenth time before turning back around again.
The girl continued to check the log files.

“The charge is high enough… Acceleration is okay… Enough mana to destroy a city… Damn! Was there an error in my theory? Do i have to expand the mana gathering field? Though it doesn’t make sense that a warp across the fourth space dimension needs that much more mana than one across the third. Are the gods working against me? But i doubt they would waste their power on such insignificant experiments just for stealing a bit of their mana for some of my projects a few years ago. When they act, it has to be flashy to get the attention of the worshipers. So… Is it an error in my theory, though the simulations say it should work, or is some third party interfering?”
For the fifteenth time the alarm started to ring and interrupted her soliloquy.
Sarah sighed. If she could solve the current issue, she should be able to access the fourth spatial dimension. Hopefully, that would allow her to travel to a world with more mana, where you wouldn’t need city-sized gathering fields to acquire enough of the magic enabling substance to create a simple light, or at least let her siphon the mana from there back into this world. But she had to interrupt her theorizing about what caused the issue as she promised her twin-sister, Sera, that she would watch the finale of the Freestyle Swordplay Nationals in the stadium. A stadium with a lot of people… For a moment the scientist thought about just ignoring the promise, though then her sister would be angry with her and stop bringing her food and water. And then she would pass out after a few days. Again. Her options were limited. A quick mental simulation also said that going to the reserved VIP seats in the stadium would result in less human interaction than passing out from dehydration because she avoided asking her maids for water. Reluctantly, the girl stopped the alarm before getting up. After a short fight with her lab-coat, she managed to get it off and placed over her chair, then she left her laboratory, though without forgetting to triple-check all running systems and security measures previously.

The doors of the elevator opened, and a maid was already waiting for Sarah. Her sister probably anticipated that the girl would try to avoid the maids and go out as she was, so they had been instructed accordingly. While the knee length black long-sleeve dress with frills and bows in similarly dark colors she was already wearing wasn’t in itself bad to go out in, there were other issues. Besides her messy long hair nature itself stood in her way, in the form of a rain storm outside. One may wonder why someone was wearing such a dress to work, but as she was mostly sitting in front of a computer and wearing a lab-coat over it anyway, it wasn’t really obstructing her, and it made Sera happy.

A few minutes later, she was finally left alone in the car, if one ignored the three bodyguards and driver, and on her way to the stadium. In addition to her dress, she was now wearing a long black hooded coat over it to keep the wind and rain away. Her hair was also brushed and a few hair clips kept it in form, though it wasn’t fully visible as the hood of her coat hid her face. She really disliked company besides maybe her sister… If it were possible, she would have ditched them, but since a week rarely passed without an attempt to take her or her life, it unfortunately wasn’t. Kidnapping, or as someone once called it, “a forceful and involuntary relocation of the workspace”, just had too much human interaction.
Even though it was only early evening, dark clouds covered the sky and let it appear as if it was the middle of the night. Heavy rain further reduced the visibility of the dark environment on the winding mountain road from the mansion to the closest city, Yamatai. At least the driver didn’t need to worry about potential traffic as most of the area to the city was still part of the Goldschmidt property. It didn’t take long for them to reach the city and the stadium.

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The Goldschmidt Stadium, named after the sponsor and one of the richest merchant families in the world. Though nowadays they weren’t a pure merchant family anymore and were involved in everything from politics and research to sports and art. Anyway, whoever created the VIP entrance did a good job with separating whoever entered through it from the rest of the visitors. Without much interference in the form of the presence of other human beings Sarah reached her seat, obviously in its own section of the building. Only a few other VIPs and their guards were present, and while the girl would probably know the name of a few of them if she looked closer, she instead chose to ignore them. This wasn’t a party where she had to interact at least a bit with others. If she ever found a way to travel through time, she would definitely make parties unacceptable for upper echelons of society. Luckily for her, the others also chose to leave her alone, mainly as they were already in discussions or shared Sarah’s preference for solitude.


Sera couldn’t wait to cook the steak, a pretty expensive piece of meat, tomorrow. While her family had more than enough money to get dishes in a similar league every day, it would have lost its uniqueness if they did and it would have been boring. Isn’t it the best to discover new things and look forward to the future?


Having those thoughts, the girl walked into the arena, clad in armor not unlike what a motorbiker would wear, though thinner, and with additional metal protectors to allow better movement without reducing the protective capabilities. She completely ignored the audience and her opponent, Akira Yagami, until she stood directly opposite to him, lost in her thoughts. Some people would probably have been nervous fighting for the title in the national championship with such an audience, however she took it maybe a bit too casually. At least she managed to focus before the fight started, not like that one time where she nearly burned down the kitchen… Or that one time she cleaned up her sisters laboratory since Sarah didn’t want other people to be there… Well, calling it “that one time” distorted the truth a bit, but “countless” didn’t sound that good and her nickname of “Walking Disaster” is already embarrassing enough.

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After the judge announced the start of the first bout, they passed the first moments staring at each other with a few small probing movements, like beasts waiting for their prey to make a mistake. Though while it might work for weaker opponents or when one waited for a longer time, she wasn’t here to play the waiting game, so she opened with a vertical lunge from the right. Parried, as expected, though the girl used the force to reposition herself and attempt a stab. Unfortunately Akira disengaged in time.
Truly a strong opponent. Sera’s speed and some unusual actions usually were problems for her opponents, though that didn’t seem to be the case for the 5 year older heir of the Yagami swordsman family. Distracted by her thoughts, her opponent went for an attack from above, which she barely blocked in time. An attempted strike using the created opening on his torso was then evaded with quick and precise footwork before he went for another attack to which she could only react by disengaging.
Again moments passed, both waited for the other to make a mistake.


Then both engaged, but before both swords could meet Sera shifted her body in the last moment. Instead of blocking she took the sword with her left arm, or at least her armor, allowing her own sword a hit on the torso of her opponent. Half a point for her opponent, but one full for her were added to their scores. While such trade tactics are viewed negatively in a lot of the bigger sword schools, as in real fights or with worse armor one can easily lose an arm permanently, they can be surprising and effective, especially with the girl’s speed.

The next exchanges then started to take more and more time. As both participants could be considered geniuses with the sword and part of the strongest sword-fighters of the current age, they learned more and more about their opponent. They started to predict their next movements, even when those were seen as unorthodox and surprising for others.

1.5 to .5, 1.5 to 1.5, 1.5 to 2, 2.5 to 2, 3 to 3…
4 to 4.

Exchanges lasted usually only a few seconds and after a few of those, if both fighters were on a similar level, one of them would take a point, however, now they separated after their thirty-ninth exchange since their last point. Neither of their sweaty appearances could be seen through the armor and helmets, but it wasn’t hard to guess that they were starting to tire. After both of them took a point simultaneously, they had to play it more defensively. One wrong move could give the other the fifth point and end the competition.

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