The Main Event Begins: The Old Butler — Part 1
Editors: Speedphoenix, Joker
“And the winner of this round is once again the man that almost appears to be an unstoppable force, Ypsilon!”
A mix of cheers and jeers erupted from the crowd the moment the MC announced the fight’s results. Heh. Looks like Operation Stand The Fuck Out is moving along pretty smoothly.
Discounting the preliminaries, I had already fought in a total of three matches, and I had played the part of the heel in each. In wrestling, heels had the tendency to scream at their opponents, call them weaklings, and proclaim that they would never be defeated by the likes of whoever it was they were up against. I, however, had not. I had instead drawn the audience’s ire through the actions I took in battle. Strangely enough, a good chunk of the crowd had taken a liking to me regardless. Talk about having weird tastes.
My supporters weren’t the only ones growing in number. Those that wished to interfere with my matches were too. More and more red dots appeared on my map after each of my fights, but they never got the chance to actually do any harm. The hooded agents that served as my allies were doing their jobs well; they would always erase my would-be assailants before they could do any harm. The reason that the enemy count was increasing regardless was because the person in charge of deploying them was sending an even larger wave each time the last was destroyed. Man, having good allies sure makes life easy. They’re handling this way better than I ever could have. And yeah, I know what you’re thinking. You want to smack me and say, “What the fuck, dude? Weren’t you just bitching about how your allies were going to be weak and useless a few days ago?” I can’t lie. You’re totally right. I was being stupid and looking down on people I hadn’t even met yet. I was jumping to conclusions when I really shouldn’t have been. I probably owe them an apology.
“So what do you think, Enne? Of this whole tourney thing, I mean.” I turned to the girl sitting beside me as I spoke. The two of us were currently located on top of a bench inside of my personal waiting room. Naturally, we had made sure to check that no one else was around before she changed forms.
“It’s…” She paused for a moment to think. “Really loud.”
“Yeah, it totally is,” I laughed.
“And I hate that people are booing you.” She looked towards the audience as her face warped in disappointment.
Seeing her like that led me to start scratching one of my cheeks with a troubled smile; it took me a good few moments to formulate an explanation.
“Well, if it makes you feel any better, they’re not actually doing it because they hate me. I’m doing mean stuff on purpose, and they’re just playing along,” I said.
As Enne didn’t know much about wrestling or any other combat-based sport, she lacked the knowledge required for her to understand that booing wasn’t necessarily representative of genuine hate. I didn’t expect her to immediately come to understand that heels and booing went hand in hand. The audience was an important part of the performance. A strong negative reaction was needed to contribute in order to perfect the beauty that came with the art of acting like a badass villain. I mean, at least that’s how I think it works. I’m pretty sure they don’t actually hate me, right? Right…?
“Y-Yeah, I think so,” I stuttered. “You know how you girls play pretend? It’s basically the same thing.”
They would pretend to be demon lords, while I would pretend to be a hero. And then they would proceed to defeat me.
“Then you can’t do it anymore,” she pouted. “You have to make everyone see how cool you are. Like a real demon lord would.”
“Uhh… I’m pretty sure playing the bad guy is way more demon lord-like than just being cool.”
“Still. You can’t. No more playing the bad guy.”
Enne turned her gaze upwards and looked right at me as she made the demand.
“Alright, alright, fine. I get it.” I flashed a strained smile as I patted her on the head. “I’ll act more like a demon lord and make everyone think I’m cool. Okay?”
“Okay,” she said with a satisfied nod.
Our conversation seemed to have ended at just the right time, as Enne’s expression of content was immediately followed by a knock. I had the blade girl return to her real body before opening the door. Standing in the doorway was one of the event’s staff members, a demon girl with horns and a tail.
“It’s almost time for your next match, sir,” she said. “Please make your way to the arena’s entrance once you’re ready to go.”
It was just the usual announcement, so I did the same thing I’d done the past few times and used my hand to signal that I had received the message. All of the other staff members understood that it was my way of dismissing them. They would immediately leave in order to attend to the rest of their duties. This one, however, did not. She remained in the doorway and fidgeted about for a bit before finally plucking up enough courage to see her intentions through.
“Y-Your matches are some of the most exciting I’ve ever seen, Mr. Ypsilon!” she spoke in a bit of a rushed tone, fumbling over her words as she presented me with whatever it was she had been holding behind her back the whole time. “C-Could I please have your autograph?”
There was an item in each of the girl’s hands. In her left was a freshly-inked feather pen, and in her right was a piece of parchment that looked more durable than usual. I guess that must be what they use in place of autograph sheets.
Oh, I see now. It wasn’t that she didn’t get the hand signal or anything. She was just hanging around ‘cause she wanted an autograph. Wait… She wants an autograph…?
I hadn’t thought my actions through until after accepting everything she wanted to hand me, so I ended up freezing up the moment I finally processed the fact that she was asking for my signature. Crap. What do? How am I supposed to sign something for her if I don’t actually have a god damned signature? …Alright, fuck it. I’mma just write Ypsilon in katakana and call it a day. She probably won’t know the difference anyway.
With that decided, I pressed the parchment against the wall, “signed” it, and returned it to its owner.
“Thank you so much!” she squealed excitedly before running right off.
“What a weirdo…” said Enne, telepathically.
“I know, right?”
So uh… I should probably practise my signature, huh? You know, just in case I ever get asked for another autograph.
There wasn’t much for me to do in terms of getting ready, so I headed over to the stage right after the demon girl left. Upon entering it, I found myself greeted by even more noise than usual. The audience was hyped, with a capital everything.
“And against him is a man not to be underestimated, a man whose appearance belies the extent of his strength! His blade is so charming and graceful that it can be likened to a vicious, deadly dance! Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a man that has one-sidedly destroyed every single opponent he’s faced despite never having participated in Destia Trome! Please give a warm welcome to Remiero!”
The man that entered from the opposite side of the arena could only be described as an old butler. The expression on his face matched his age; he was wearing the kind of gentle smile you would expect to see on an old, refined gentleman’s face. That, however, was the only part of him that looked his age. Despite having lived long enough to justify retirement, his back was straight as a rod and his steps were firm. The composed, dauntless way he carried himself made him seem much younger than he really was. Wait. He’s human.
“Are you… one of Nell’s buddies?”
“I suppose you must be the ally that she was speaking of?” said the old man with a dandy smile.
“You could tell?”
“We were given a quick overview of your traits and features,” he said. “The biggest giveaway was your sword. We were told that it was curved, of an absurd length, and had a black and red ribbon on its handle. It gave you away on sight.”
Ohhh, I see. So he used Enne to ID me. It was a reasonable approach. I had basically never put Enne away ever since she had become more sentient. That said, it wasn’t as if I paraded her around either. I made sure to keep both her and her sheath wrapped up in a large cloth save for when I was in the arena. Wow. Nell’s got a pretty good memory. Could’ve sworn I only took her out of the cloth for a few seconds when we were back at the bar. I’m surprised that was enough for her to remember so many details.
“Now let’s get this match underway!” said the MC. “Ready? Fight!”
The gong rang throughout the stadium, but neither of us sprung into action immediately.
“Well, I would have loved to continue to chat, but it appears that it’s time for us to begin. Wouldn’t want to keep the crowd waiting, after all,” he said with a smile. “Why don’t we save the small talk for later? I would hate to waste the opportunity to face you in battle. I’m sure it would make for an excellent round of practice.”
His aura changed as he drew the rustic blade hanging from his waist. The old butler’s aura suddenly swelled in size; he began giving off an overwhelming sense of pressure and intimidation.
“Practice, my ass! Dude, I can totally tell that you’re trying to murder me!”
“Not at all, good sir, not at all,” denied the butler. “Please do forgive me, the hero’s description of you happened to spark my curiosity. I can’t help but wonder the extent of your strength.”
“Oh okay. So when all’s said and done, all you really wanted to do was test me, huh?”
“I suppose you could say that,” he said with a ferocious smile.
It was clear as day that the opponent I was faced with was no ordinary Joe, so I analyzed him in order to get a better idea of what I would be up against.
Name: Remiero Gillbert
Class: Butler (Sword Saint)
Sword Mastery X
Rapier Mastery VII
Dagger Mastery VII
Martial Arts Mastery VIII
Crisis Detection VII
Blade Seer VIII
Survivor of Death’s Embrace
Dude! What the fuck!? What the actual fuck!? Dude’s the type of guy you’re not supposed to run into until the tournament’s starting to come to an end! Look at how OP he is! Holy shit! Oh man, this is bad. The assassin I met yesterday has got better stats, but this dude’s definitely way better with a sword. He’s got sword mastery at level fucking ten! That shit’s capped, bro! It literally doesn’t get any higher! Hell, every single one of his skills is at least at level seven. Look at his class too! He’s a sword saint! A fucking sword saint! He’s even got a friggin’ matching title. And don’t even get me started on that dex stat! What the fuck!
My newest opponent was so confident in his overwhelming power that he didn’t even bother hiding the fact that he was human. It didn’t take a genius to guess his reasoning. He was strong enough to deal with just about anything, even should a situation ever go sour. And he would probably be respected for it too. As far as the demon realm was concerned, might meant right. Oh, I get it. He’s probably not hiding his humanity because standing out will help everyone he’s working with blend in better with the crowd. Yeah, sounds about right. He seems more than capable of handling any danger that comes his way as a result.
Man, I really need to stop meeting OP people. They’re really throwing off my sense of how strong the average person is supposed to be and it’s messing with my head. Though, I guess that is just kinda what demon realms do. They mess with you and throw you off. Not that the old man’s affiliated with the demon realm. Whatever, you get the point.
One of the first decisions I came to after seeing his stat page was to avoid pure swordplay. I was almost positive that he would best me ten times out of ten if I relied on my terrible sword arm. My stats were way higher than his, but that wasn’t to say that he couldn’t beat me. Lopping off my head or stabbing me through the heart were both easy ways for him to ensure my death. Errr, wait a second. I think I might be jumping to a few too many conclusions there. Honestly, I wouldn’t be all that surprised if I managed to survive what would otherwise have been a fatal injury, but I’m not about to go test it. I can’t really imagine anything good coming from testing something like that.
While the tourney didn’t endorse fatalities, I had to consider the possibility that it could happen given the butler’s might; I was sure to lose if I didn’t take him seriously. Welp. Time to try my best. Enne did just tell me to show off and make everyone think I’m cool and whatnot, after all.
“It doesn’t look like you’re the type of opponent I can go easy on.” I drew my sword, put its sheath in my inventory, and muttered a line under my breath. “Let’s do this, Enne.”
“Let’s,” she replied telepathically.
Her crimson blade glittered as it reflected the sun’s rays.
“Would you look at that! Ypsilon has finally drawn his weapon! What do you think, ladies and gentlemen? Does this mean Remiero really is just as strong as we’ve all thought!?”
The MC began to do his usual commentary, but I didn’t pay it mind. I purged both it and the crowd’s cheers from my mind in order to focus my mind on the foe standing before me.
After calming myself down, I let out a short exhale before kicking off the ground with all the force of an explosion and diving right at my opponent.
“Come at me, old-timer!”