When Katherine fainted, the victor of the duel was decided.
Headmistress Evelyn appeared beside Katherine and checked her condition. She sighed in relief when she confirmed that Katherine was just suffering from mana depletion.
Evelyn raised her voice and announced the results.
“The winner is Christine!”
Once more, the arena erupted in cheers.
The upperclassmen cheered excitedly. This victory regained the pride of the upperclassmen that had been lost when Arami lost to Katherine.
Moreover, Christine seemed completely uninjured. The only change since the time she entered the arena was that her clothes were a bit ruffled. Even her hair was perfect, as though she had not fought a fierce battle just now and instead was in a tea party.
Headmistress Evelyn put a mana potion in Katherine’s mouth and called a stretcher to send her away. She then looked at our side and spoke.
“Send the next person up.”
She looked around while thinking about who to send.
But before she could decide, someone took a step forward and volunteered.
“President, let me go.”
It was a man, the vice-leader of the students’ guards, Hugo.
Hugo was a commoner youth that entered the institute at the same time as Katherine. He was very talented and managed to reach the fifth-layer in just his second year.
However, Dina frowned when he stepped forward.
“Hugo, are you sure?”
He nodded firmly. “Yes, I must defeat her to avenge the leader!”
Dina’s frown deepened. She thought for a moment before shaking her head. “I’m sorry, you can’t go.”
“You are just at the fifth-layer, Hugo.” Dina explained calmly. “Your strength is one layer below that Christine. Do you think you can win?”
Hugo bit her lips and looked down.
At that moment, I chuckled. “Sister, let him go.”
“Hmm?” Dina was surprised and looked at me in doubt. “Claus, why?”
I smiled. “Actually, Hugo has an opportunity. If I’m not wrong, Christine has less than twenty percent of her mana remaining. Katherine’s last attack was not something Christine can resist easily. Although she looks uninjured, the mana she used to defend against that attack was staggering.”
Dina fell silent. She thought for a moment and realized that my words were right.
Sighing, she looked at Hugo and hesitated.
In the end, she exhaled and waved her hand.
“Okay, go. But be careful. Focus in a battle of attrition. Once Christine’s mana is used up, the victory will be ours.”
“I understand.” Hugo nodded seriously. “Don’t worry, I’ll not betray your expectations.”
He then grabbed his axe from the ground and jumped into the stage.
When Christine saw him, she smiled.
“How nice, another a fifth layer from the students’ guards. Are you here to avenge your leader?”
Hugo looked at her fiercely and closed his eyes to concentrate.
Below, Dina wrinkled her words in concern and looked at me. “Do you truly think he can win?”
I shrugged. “Perhaps, if he is cautious enough. I estimate he has a fifty percent chance. Plus, he probably will perform beyond his limits today.”
“Huh? You look very sure…” Dina shot me a suspicious look. “Why do you think so?”
I smirked. “Is it not obvious? He wants to impress his crush.”
Dina was stunned. She then looked in the direction of the infirmary. “… Katherine?”
I smiled. “… He will do his best to defeat Christine so to impress her. Maybe after the victory, he is planning to confess his feelings.”
Dina finally understood. “So that is the reason. You are very observant, Claus.”
I just smiled and did not deny it.
Back to the arena, headmistress Evelyn looked at both parties before raising her hand.
At her signal, the fight started.
Hugo moved immediately. He kicked the ground and charged towards Christine. At the same time, he swung his axe and created a mana wave that flew towards her.
Christine calmly created a mana barrier and stopped the slash. Just like the last fight, she made use of the time the barrier earned to cast a spell.
However, the spell she cast this time was not the powerful [Meteor Rain].
Having used too much mana in the last fight, she opted for a less costly spell, [Fire Spears].
Five spears of fire appeared behind her and flew towards Hugo, sealing his paths of escape. Hugo answered with a swing of his axe. The axe attack clashed with the fire spears, that exploded upon contact.
Hugo tensed up. He moved his axe in a circular form and created a mana shield to protect himself from the explosions.
It was an intermediate combat technique taught in the institute. [Attack Reflection]!
The explosions hit the shield, but Hugo was unscathed. He charged out and brandished his axe towards Christine’s shoulders, but it was stopped by a magic circle that appeared in front of him.
Christine retaliated creating tens of wind blades around her that cut towards her opponent. Fortunately, Hugo was prepared. He retreated instantly once his attack failed to breach Christine defenses. He then avoided Christine attacks and charged forward again.
Christine frowned. She instantly realized Hugo’s goal. He intended to force her to use her spells to consume her remaining magic power.
It was a simple strategy, but very effective. Christine had to use spells in order to defeat Hugo, but each spell she used meant less mana remaining in her core.
Moreover, she had to avoid using powerful spells. If she used a powerful spell and failed, her remaining mana would not be enough to continue the fight.
So, she had to save the huge spells for a decisive moment.
The battle continued that way. In the blink of an eye, they had exchanged tens of moves without results.
Christine started to panic. Her mana reserves were decreasing quickly. Currently, she had at most ten percent of her total mana available.
Of course, Hugo was not much better. Avoiding and defending against a peak sixth-layer mage’s attacks was very hard, and sometimes he was unable to defend in time. Due to it, he was panting and his body was filled with scratches.
But although he seemed much more miserable, his situation was much better than Christine.
Dina sighed in relief. She held her chest and smiled. “It looks like we will win this one.”
I did not answer. Instead, I looked at the battle and frowned.
At that moment, Christine finally showed an opening.
Hugo did not hesitate when he saw it. He took advantage of this opportunity and instantly pounced forward.
In an instant, his axe was filled with a blinding glow. He used most of his mana in this attack.
“Axe Technique, [Opening the World]!”
With a shout, Hugo swung his axe down.
The next second, the entire arena trembled.
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