She’s so Cheeky for a Commoner! 14

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Magic Combat

“Ohーho, ho, ho! Looks like I will be the one to hand you your expulsion papers personally!”

Pointing directly at the commoner, I gave a confident laugh.

We were currently at the academy’s training grounds.
Both I and the commoner had passed the first phase of the selection exams to move on.
This phase of the exam would test our practical skills in a mock battle.
With all of the other matches out of the way, all that remained was my match with the commoner.

“I won’t let that happen, so let’s just have some fun.”

Even standing in my presence, the commoner kept her composure.
Hmph, she’s acting a little too pompous just over the fact that she’s a dual caster.

“Fun, you say? Don’t think for a moment that I’ll allow a lowly commoner such as yourself to defeat me.”
“Fufu, please do your best.”
“Why you!”

It appeared that this commoner insisted on belittling me to her bitter end.
I’ll show her…!

“Are both combatants ready?”
“Certainly.”
“Yes.”
“Then, let the final match… begin!”

Without letting my guard down, I readied my magic wand and waited for the commoner’s first move… But the commoner simply stood in place.
She held her wand, but kept a relaxed stance and was just observing me.

“Do you have no intention to attack?”
“Right back at you, Claire-sama.”
“What I’m doing is keeping myself composed and ready.”
“That so?”

We exchanged light banter, but even then, the commoner refused to make the first move.

“You… are you really not going to attack? This won’t even be a contest.”
“Nah, I mean, I’m perfectly happy just admiring you like this.”
“You’re just teasing me again, aren’t you!?”

If she was going to play this sort of game then I’d―the very moment I thought that,

“But well, we can’t keep this up forever so I guess I’ll start things off.”

The commoner lifted her right arm.

“Encase.”

As the words left her mouth, my field of view was obstructed.
I quickly realized that she had imprisoned me within some structure.
It appeared that she had used earth magic to form a cage around me.

I’ve been underestimated.

“Hmph, trivial.”

Slamming a lance made of flames into the cage, the dirt walls melted around me.
What a bother, she got some dirt on my uniform.
Around the time I had dust myself off, the commoner made her next move.

“Okay, I guess I’ll continue my fun.”

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This time the commoner formed stone arrows and launched them toward me.

“Futile.”

Drawing a large arc with my arm, a wall of fire erupted before me.
The barrage of stone arrows the commoner launched all melted within the flames.

“Is that all you’ve got?”
“No, not at all, just as I would expect from Claire-sama.”
“Hmph.
Then I’m sure you wouldn’t mind if I take the initiative.”

Lifting my arm high, I formed the mental image of a large blazing lance.
This fire spell―Flame Lance―could be used by casters with a Medium Aptitude in fire magic.
That said, the potency of the spell greatly increased in the hands of a caster with High Aptitude.
A blazing lance about the size of a large jousting lance now sat just above my palm.

“As a noble, even magic becomes art.”
“Just what I’d expect from you, Claire-sama! The aesthetics aside, it’s clear that you have a high level of control over your magic!”
“Could you just silence yourself!?”

She’s a commoner, she just can’t comprehend art… Or was it actually that lame? Th-That aside!

“Begone!”

With my arm’s swing as its cue, the blazing lance hurled itself toward the commoner at frightening speeds.
In response, the commoner created another wall of dirt.

“You fool! Have you already forgotten that I can just melt your dirt!?”

The potency of my Flame Lance was magnitudes higher than the average one.
In addition, earth was a poor matchup against fire, so it was a foregone conclusion that my lance would pierce her wall… but―

“!? It’s not melting!? But why…!?”

The mystery wall that the commoner constructed with her earth magic held firm even after repelling my lance.

“You’re rotten, but I suppose Extreme Aptitude speaks for itself.”
“I’m honored.”
“That said, I have plenty of options to break past, you know?”

Quickly forming another blazing lance, I fired it in a trajectory that wouldn’t directly hit the commoner.

“Turn!”

Once the lance had entered the commoner’s blindspot, I corrected its trajectory.
But the commoner really wasn’t someone I could take lightly.
She instantly summoned another wall behind her to block the lance.
It was a good response, but still naive!

“Burst!”

Just before the blazing lance made contact with her wall, I snapped my fingers.
That very moment, the large lance split into countless bullets that circled around her wall to rain down upon her.

“I’ve got her!”

This time I was confident I had won, but again…

“Not quite, but you were oh so close.”

To my disbelief, the commoner had formed bullets composed of her mysterious dirt and snuffed out my bullets with hers.

“That’s insane, she really managed such a last minute defense!?”

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Rodd-sama was equally exasperated as he was amazed.

“Mrgrgr… A commoner like you…”
“Oh? What’s the matter? Ready to throw in the towel?”
“Far from it.”

I decided to move on to my next plan.

“Rodd-sama, my apologies.”
“Hah?”

I switched from the flame lance to a lower tier of magic and again created countless bullets before shooting them straight at the commoner.
The commoner again blocked my attacks with her mysterious wall, but I had accounted for that.

“It’s not over yet!”

Paying no heed, I fired shot after shot showering her in a rain of fire.

“Ah, so that’s her play.”

It appeared that Yuu-sama had realized my aim.
That’s right, I decided to employ the same strategy that Rodd-sama had in his fight against Misha.
Regardless of how sturdy the commoner’s defenses were, a continuous barrage of fire would inevitably exhaust the oxygen around her.

“Sure then I guess I’ll just…”

And yet, contrary to my expectations, the commoner quickly settled on her response.
By pushing the barrier away from herself, she intercepted the fire bullets at a safe distance.
In pushing back against my barrage, she, quite literally, gave herself room to breathe.
Not only that, but she continued expanding her wall, wrapping it around me to trap me inside.

“I won’t allow it!”

The commoner was trying to repeat her first attack, but I wasn’t going to let her.
Making use of my legs, I escaped the makeshift cage before it could close and promptly created more distance between us.

“Their fight really isn’t as flashy as ours, but it’s impressive to those who understand.”
“Yes, I agree.”

I could hear Rodd-sama and Misha commenting on the fight.
Myself aside, I hadn’t expected for the commoner to be such a formidable foe.
Until now I thought that she was just a book smart honors student, but it appeared that too was a miscalculation.

“Why you… How cheeky!”
“So, Claire-sama, what are you going to show me next?”
“Don’t get carried away.”

I gracefully lifted both of my hands.
Suddenly, four family crests―the François crest―floated in what once was empty sky.

“To think that I’d use this against a mere commoner… Oh Light!”

As the words left my mouth, four rays of light poured out from the four crests.
The rays made contact with the ground just around the commoner, evaporating whatever they touched.
Even the normally carefree commoner was forced to tense up after seeing that.

“Take that as a warning.”

This was my ace in the hole, a spell requiring high affinity in fire magic, the Magic Ray.
The spell was so destructive that I could still count the number of times I’ve used it.

“Not even I have the magical capacity to shoot these repeatedly… But I’m sure even you understand the spell’s potency.
Though you may have your barrier, should I land a direct hit it’ll do much more than just hurt.
Surrender.”

Once again convinced of my victory, I advised the commoner to surrender.
While I did find her unbearable, I had no inclination to cause unnecessary harm.

“Uhm… well, let’s see… I wouldn’t necessarily mind that, but…”

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“But?”
“That wouldn’t sit well with me, so I think I’ll grab the win after all.”

Eh? Did I mishear? The moment I thought that, everything within my field of view lurched up.

“Aaah!”

I soon realized that I was falling into a hole that suddenly formed just beneath me.
The hole started at a mere five meters deep, but moment by moment I could see the hole getting deeper.

“Hey! You dare use such a simple tactic!?”
“I mean, it’s working, isn’t it?”

Though the commoner’s words frustrated me, I couldn’t deny them.
Perhaps if I could walk on the air like Sein-sama had… But I personally had no way to deal with this pitfall.
There was no way I could use fire magic to secure new footing and climb, and the hole was too narrow for me to safely blast myself up and out.
If I had access to water magic, I could have tried filling the hole with water and floating up… But it would be difficult to outpace the hole was expanding, and in the worst case I could drown.

But to lose to magic so… so… plain…!

“I won’t accept it, I won’t let our fight end like this!”
“Sure, go ahead and just climb on out.”
“Just you wait! I’ll just expand the hole and―”
“… Claire, just concede.”

Sein-sama’s sobering words stopped me from doubling down.

“What are you saying! Sein-sama, I can still―”
“… Haven’t you realized? Though Rei’s water magic would be an effective counter to your fire magic, she has yet to cast even a single water spell.”
“!?”

Sein-sama’s words left me shell shocked.
The commoner did indeed have an Extreme Aptitude for both water and earth magic.
In spite of that, she had never once used water magic during our fight.

“You… have you been holding back?”
“Absolutely!”
“How dare you make a fool out of me…!”
“So, Claire-sama, do you still intend to fight?”
“Of course!”

Unable to suppress my frustration, I tried to melt away the surrounding dirt but―

“Claire-sama, you got this~”
“You’re quite the character, aren’t you!?”

The moment I melted any soil, the commoner just instantly replaced it.

“~~~!”

I was on the verge of losing my calm.
I had known of her magical aptitudes in advance, so I should have been able to prepare.
It was my own negligence that caused my downfall.
This hole was a hole that I dug for myself.

(Something… There must be something…!)

Perhaps I shouldn’t be the one to say it, but I believed myself to be a cut above the rest.
It was unusual for me to be pushed around, left without any option to retaliate.
When was the last time that I came face to face with this sense of powerlessness?

(… Ah, come to think of it, then too…)

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Memories steeped in a dark gray flashed through my mind.
They were all of the time shortly after I had lost my mother.
Then too, I felt completely powerless.
The only thing that I could have done was accept my mother’s death.

(If the alternative is feeling that same helplessness…!)

I was fully aware that using explosions to propel myself out of the hole was a dangerous plan, but it was better than nothing.
Steeling my resolve, I concentrated my magic underneath me―

“Claire-sama, my apologies but I am calling this match as its referee.
The winner is Rei.”
“Thanks for the match.”

The referee called our match and declared my loss.

“I won’t accept it, you hear me!?”

◆◇◆◇◆

“C~L~A~I~R~E-S~A~M~A~!”
“Yes, I know.
Say whatever suits your fancy.”

The selection exams were judged not by the end result, but the details.
As a result, both I and the commoner safely joined the ranks of the Order of the Academy.
Just after we were awarded the Order’s insignia as proof of our enlistment, the commoner happily approached me.
Regardless of her methods, it was still my loss.
I had every intention to accept whatever request she made, but then,

“My only request is the same one as before.”
“Eh?”
“No matter what happens, please don’t give up.”
“Wait, what is that meant to mean? Why would you have me make the same promise?”

This made no sense.
Considering her usual conduct, if she was able to request any one thing, I was so sure that she would happily use that privilege to sate her lust…

“Yes, that’s fine.
Please, make me that same promise once again.”
“It makes no difference to me… but are you sure that this is what you want?”
“Yes.”
“Very well.
I, Claire François hereby vow by The Spirit’s name, that I will not give up.
No matter the situation, I will hold hope in my heart and struggle to the very last moment.”
“Perfect.”

For reasons that I could not comprehend, the commoner wore a satisfied smile.
I just couldn’t understand what it was that motivated her actions.

“Claire-sama, I’m hungry.
Let’s go to the cafeteria!”
“Despite winning with such cowardice, you don’t feel an ounce of shame, do you?”
“Thank you so much! I really did my best!”
“That wasn’t praise!”

Should we have another chance to compete, just you watch… As I formed that resolve within myself,

“Claire-sama, please never change.”
“Haah? What is with you all of a sudden?”
“No, nothing.
Alright Claire-sama, let’s hurry.”
“Hey! Commoner! Don’t grab me so casually!”

For some reason, even as the commoner pulled my hand and made way to the cafeteria, I could see that her expression was tinged with sorrow.
It was then that I realized that I still knew nothing about her.

Translator Comment: Ahh, I remember the fight in ILTV being primarily comedic… of course with the meaningful exchange at the end, but I had no idea that Claire took things so harshly.
Rei really is good at pushing Claire’s buttons though.

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