Before the tutorial begins chapter 31

Chapter Thirty-One – Clanmaster of Blazing Iceblade, James Szilard

Virtual Space – Stage – Level

A black room stretching 2 kilometers in all directions.

Three figures gathered at the center of this virtual world, illuminated by evenly spaced electronic lights.

“Wow, amazing! It moves just like real life!”

Ignoring Haruka’s energetically hopping “Pyon Pyoko,” I addressed the leader of “Blazing Iceblade” in front of me.

“Unlimited time, all-out battle with no special rules. Victory by destroying the enemy or surrender via the simulator. Starting positions freely chosen within a 200m radius of the center line… any objections?”

“Hmm. That’s fine.”

Szilard-san nods magnanimously, truly looking the part.

Regrets begin to swirl as the reality of facing the legendary James Szilard sinks in.

“I’ll let you decide when to start the fight. Hmm… let’s go with when either you, Kyoichiro, or Haruka takes a combat action after the center line.”

“Please define combat action.”

“General movement and attacks. Of course, attacks include ranged attacks.”

Crossing the line with movement or attack signals the start. In other words, we can prepare as much as we want until then.

“You’re very generous, Szilard-san.”

“It’s an unfair wager to the disadvantage of both of you. Consider it a service.”

“Oh! That’s what the top clan can afford! “

Haruka breezily accepts Szilard-san’s cool reply, impressively thick-skinned as always.

At the moment, I’m a little jealous of her carelessness.

“I’m looking forward to an intense match.”

“Yes, thank you for inviting us.”

“Please take care of us!”

We shake hands, then split into two groups with Szilard-san.

Our feelings are different, as are our steps.

The resulting initial formations contrast perfectly.

Szilard-san took position at the very back, 200 meters from the line.

Standard placement for a rear support wizard.

Meanwhile, we…

“Yeah, it has to be here!”

“It can’t be anywhere else!”

Nodding to each other at the edge of the center line.

That’s right. As close-range types, our theory is “get as close to the enemy as possible.

As we are behind in terms of range, there is no other optimal solution but this front line.

Backs further back, fronts to the limit – our pre-battle formations followed orthodox logic.

“Right, time for an ultra-tense strategy meeting. Haruka, any good ideas?”

“Hmm… since we got all the preparation time we wanted, why not? Your strongest move, Kyoichiro.”

“You mean [Origin’s End]?”

Haruka nods matter-of-factly. As always, she’s extremely sharp when it comes to fighting.

The plan she presented was so useful that it could be said to be almost perfect except for one point.

Except for one thing, her proposed plan was almost perfect, providing a way to almost certainly win with [Origin’s End] despite its crippling recharge time.

If we could activate it inside the line, stockpile more Spirit Power, use [Time Acceleration], and combine it with Haruka’s support, we’d have a good chance of defeating Szilard-san.


“No proof, but [Origin’s End] could kill Szilard-san if it hits.”

“Those are the rules, so no problem, right?”

“Not making his avatar disappear – like real life death.”


Her expression gets complicated.

Sorry Haruka.

But we can’t have real deaths in a mock battle.

Especially since Szilard-san is an important character.

“With [Origin’s End] unusable, I lack firepower against Szilard-san as the main attacker. So I want you to be the star – can you do it?”

“Huh?! I get that tasty-looking guy all to myself?! That’s allowed?!”

“Yes, your [Soukyu] is a good match for Szilard-san. And most of all…”

I take a deep breath of virtual air and shout loud enough for Szilard-san to hear.

“No matter how amazing a Five Clans head is, Szilard-san is still the rear guard! If we get close, we might have a chance!”

“Um, why did you suddenly call Kyoichiro?”

“No reason! Just a normal strategy meeting! But I guess a Blazing Iceblade leader would make fun of us newbies anyway, right? Wouldn’t it be kind of uncool to use ranged attacks to crush newbies?”


Got a little girlish there at the end, but that much trash talk should do the trick.

It’s invasion when we lose, mastery when we win. If we can create an advantageous situation by embarrassing myself, I’m happy to play the clown. Cackle cackle!

“Okay, serious strategy talk now.”

I lower my voice and start whispering to Haruka.

“What’s our advantage in this fight?”

“He doesn’t know what we can do.”

“Right. But as a famous guy, his hand is pretty open.”

In reality, I know that even Szilard-san’s hidden cards have not yet been revealed, but I gloss over that while explaining his fighting style.

“James Szilard. An all-range shooter who prefers rear support. A monster that fires high-powered pyrokinesis like a machine gun, with excellent power and range.”

“How powerful exactly is ‘excellent’?”

“It depends on the spell, but some even your [Soukyu] and [Hotoke no Mitama] combo might not be able to withstand.”

At that, Haruka’s eyes go, “No way, really?”

“Huh? Don’t we already have no chance?”

“If Szilard-san seriously tries to kill us, yeah, probably.”

“Against a top-notch shooter with insane range and density, firing absurdly powerful long-range barrages, melee attackers basically can’t do anything.”

And if he also uses one of his countless Divine Revelations, it will surely be a terribly one-sided game.

“But I don’t think it will be that boring.”

“Why not?”

“Szilard-san’s goal is to ‘watch’ our fights.”

If he wanted to humiliate us or put the newbies in their place, he could’ve executed us publicly in front of an audience.

If he really wanted to take over Eternal Darkness, forcing us to join Blazing Iceblade instead of the invasion wager would do a better job of that.

There are also doubts about the plausibility of the terms of the wager.

As far as I know, James Szilard isn’t the savage type to use yakuza-style methods to forcefully expand his territory.

He’s a charismatic adventurer, righteous yet cunning, seemingly acting without deep thought, but in retrospect cleverly executing demonic plots that make you feel like everything went according to plan – that’s the character of James Szilard in this dungeon RPG world.

“I’m not sure if it’s gathering information or evaluating us, but I think Szilard-san’s real goal is to experience our fighting ability firsthand.

Besides, if rumors spread that a Clan Master is vulgarly crushing us newbies and committing an invasion, it would bother Blazing Iceblade, wouldn’t it?”

“He won’t tarnish his own clan’s reputation. Yes, you might be right, Kyoichiro.”

“So it won’t be easy, but I think he’ll referee the match a bit, so it’ll be a real fight.”

More wishful thinking than deduction.

But this thin thread of possibility is our only chance to get one over on Szilard-san.

“How much he wants to see us fight is the key. Either way, close the distance before he gets serious. I keep saying it, but if we get to close combat, you absolutely win.”

“Huh? Aren’t you overestimating me a bit, Kyoichiro-nya? Even with rear support, Szilard-san is a Five Clans master like ‘that person.'”

“Yes. From his battle logs online, even Szilard-san’s CQC skills aren’t normal.”

But! Haruka and I can say for sure:

“You are even more than not normal. And I believe in your abnormality more than anyone else.

There was no falsehood in those words.

She’s a genius. And not just a little.

Judging by her martial arts skills alone, she’s easily in the top five, no, top three most “abnormal” in the history of the series.

I don’t know how highly Szilard-san rates her, but don’t be stupid.

Her talent exceeds even the measure of your wisdom.

“I will get you to Szilard-san by any means necessary. So go crazy, Haruka.”

“I got it. I’m going to enjoy this to the fullest! So escort me properly, Prince.”

“I’m not a prince, but I’ll do my best, Princess.”

“And I’m not a princess.”

“I know.”

Sharing our usual laughter, we fill with determination and spirit.

“Let’s go, Haruka. It’s the big one.”

“I’m counting on you, so count on me too, Kyoichiro.”

Clenching our fists, we step forward.

Overflowing white spirit power and six [Soukyu] glide through the virtual sky.

My brain’s synapses smile with joy at this first full power battle since the life-and-death battle at the Eclipse of the Moon.

Bring it on, Mr. Blazing Iceblade. Just for today, we’ll surpass you.

Matching our steps, we cross the line between life and death.

And then we…

We are the ones who have crossed the boundary.

“You have crossed the threshold, young ones! Then I have no choice but to respond to your brave challenge with the sincerity it deserves! Let’s go!”

I have seen the despair.

It was the Absolute Destruction spell formula that combined the contradictory ultra-high and ultra-low temperature pyrokinesis, violating all the laws of thermodynamics to destroy each other.

It was also the epitome of James Szilard’s killer move that bore his clan’s name.

[Rosso & Blu] – Szilard-san’s opening annihilation bombardment engulfed us.

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