Here is chapter 70, sorry for the delay, there was this one exam that was supposed to be next Thursday but will actually happen tomorrow, so I had to study a lot.
Anyway, this chapter has a lot of explanations that depend on your understanding of manga, jrpgs, videogames, so if you don’t understand anything, feel free to ask me in the comments!
Also, for the Patrons, the edited version of chapter 71 and its Preview are now available on Patreon, here!
Anyway, here is chapter 70, I hope you’ll enjoy it! And please consider subscribing and putting a like, though I don’t know if that’s really useful on wordpress ><
It was about two hours after the ridiculous incident caused by Itsuki and Francis.
Those two, accompanied by Harold, were currently on the outskirts of the town of Kablan, in a white western-style house surrounded by nature, built on the shore of a lake. The building and its garden were well managed and it could be seen that they were both being maintained at fixed intervals.
It was an unoccupied house owned by the Berlioz family.
【”It’s on sale, but it seems like there haven’t been any buyers.”】(Itsuki)
Well, that makes sense, thought Harold.
Although it was built a little far away from town, it was still extremely well located thanks to the lake and mountains behind it. The bright white of the two stories building’s walls that was reflected on the blue of the water looked, in a word, beautiful. There was also a boat anchorage at the edge of the lake, as well as some sort of cottage on the terrain.
How much would it cost to purchase this? There was no mistaking that this was not a property that the aristocrats of the area could afford.
【”It’s not bad for a holiday house, even though it’s a little too small.”】
【”I know right? The price is pretty good too, but still, I’m not sure about this location.”】
The two, who belonged to the upper echelons of society, were having such a conversation without a care for Harold’s feelings.
The two stories house seemed like it had as many rooms as a small hotel, so Harold couldn’t understand how it could possibly feel too small, even for a holiday house. After all, this house was at the very least bigger than the Strokes’ mansion.
The two upper-class men didn’t even seem to realize they were spitting out poison.
As for why the three were visiting such a place, naturally, they hadn’t come to check out the property.
Though they had gotten enthusiastic about having a duel before, they had no place to do it. There was no way they could start such a big disturbance within the Berlioz’ mansion, so as a last resort, the three slipped out of the mansion together, claiming【”Francis is looking for a holiday house so we’re going to do some sightseeing and guide him through the town.”】
What they needed was a spacious place, far away from the public eye, where they could fight without restraints. And this place fit those conditions.
【”If you want to buy a property, do it when I’m not here.”】
【”Right. Itsuki, where should we fight?”】
【”Let’s go around to the back.”】
And so, Itsuki brought Francis and Harold along to a horse riding place which was enclosed by wooden fences. Horse riding was certainly an aristocratic hobby, and even the Stokes’ mansion had a stable, but there, people still had to actually go outside of the mansion’s premises to gallop.
Right now, the horse riding place was completely empty. But that was only natural because, no matter how well managed the place was, it was missing the most important part of horse riding; the horses.
【”If it’s here, we’ll sure be able to fight to our heart’s contents.”】
【”Still, it would be troublesome if this turns into a rampage. “】
【”No need for such worries. I won’t draw out my sword.”】
As Harold’s said those words, Itsuki and Francis were petrified on the spot. But that was a normal reaction upon being told by someone that he wouldn’t draw out his sword in a formal duel.
After a momentary pause, Francis became full of anger and questioned Harold.
【”What does that mean?”】
【”Do i have to spell it out for you? There is no need for a sword against the likes of you, bastard.”】
Harold was aware of how outrageously condescending this statement was.
However, currently, there was no way for Harold to be defeated by Francis.
From the various inspections he had done over the past few years, Harold had found that, based on『Brave Hearts』’s system, he currently was above level 70. In the game, there were three fights against Harold, and it was only in the third fight that the original Harold had reached level 70.
Harold had no status display he could see or the like to check out his level, but he managed to calculate his own level by having hundreds of fights with a specific monster and figuring out the power of each of his blows through counting backwards from said monster’s HP.
But this was quite difficult to do. And assuming that the level-up system in this world was the same as the one in the game, if Harold fought many times, his level would naturally go up. Even though giving himself a margin of error of one or two was fine, if he were to get a massive level-up before getting to make a rough estimate of his level, then he wouldn’t be able to know his own level accurately.
So, he had a technique he could use to probe his own level by another standard.
In『Brave Hearts』, just like in the main character’s case, the main character’s rivals, such as Harold and Vincent, could lift the usage restrictions on some techniques depending on their level.
When he came to this world, at first, Harold tried out the techniques that the original Harold could handle, but the results were terrible, there were many moves he couldn’t use. And it wasn’t that he had a hard time with them or was close to being able to use them, he met with only two cases, he was either able to use the techniques perfectly, or he wasn’t able to use them in the slightest. And then, one day, he came to be able to use perfectly well some techniques that he hadn’t been able to use at all before that point.
And it’s from this that Harold came to believe that this world had a similar level-up system to the one in Brave Hearts.
Incidentally, in his very last battle, the original Harold’s HP was over 140,000. Though it might have been different had he not been in his berserk state, this could still be used as an intermediate value given that Harold, in his second fight, already had 90,000 HP.
On the other hand, Francis’ original level was set to the party’s average level as of the time when he joined it. Although this depended on the player’s play style, Francis would usually join in at level 30, more or less.
Assuming that, as of now, Francis was at Level 30 and Harold had 100,000 HP, then there was a ten times difference in HP between the two. Even if Francis, who wasn’t well known for his physical power, managed to make 100 combos connect with Harold, it still wouldn’t cut it.
However, there are always exceptions to everything, and due to the game’s specifics, there was something called a critical hit, which would appear upon attacking an opponent’s vital point. In the game, critical hits would double the damage, but things weren’t so simple in this world where real elements and game elements were mixed together.
In the game, the hydra, which Harold killed in mount Giran, had a little less than 20,000 HP, and Lifa’s attack probably hadn’t scrapped away even a third of that.
And yet, Harold killed the Hydra in a single blow, decapitating it, and he even killed the hydra’s companion in less than ten hits, even though it had been in a perfect state before. This wasn’t because Harold’s attack power was high, it was only because he gave the hydra many fatal wounds by striking its vital points.
Well, getting a critical hit on a hydra demanded skills and a fairly high level, especially since its resistance to attacks would certainly become stronger the higher its level rose. Therefore, the existence of critical hits didn’t change the fact that the higher the level, the stronger the being, but if said being dropped his guard, even a level 1 opponent could land a critical hit on him.
And in this world, even a single critical hit could be fatal.
In short, unless he wasn’t careful about critical hits,which could be fatal, nothing could come in the way of Harold’s victory.
On the contrary, he was worried that if he didn’t fight with at least this much of a handicap, he’d end up badly injuring Francis.
【”……I’ll make you immediately take back those words.”】
【”Go ahead, try your luck. If you can actually make me draw out my sword, it’s your win.”】
Said Harold, in ridicule.
This was a good excuse to be defeated by someone despite the overwhelming difference in abilities. That way Harold could set it up so that, frenzied after being attacked incessantly, Francis would suddenly attack with an all-out blow, using all of his strength, then Harold would act like he felt the danger from that attack, he would raise his sword to guard himself, and would therefore be defeated.
Harold entered towards the inside of the fences and went to face Francis, around the center of the horse riding place. Francis was full of fighting spirit.
【”This will be the last confirmation. Harold Stokes and Francis J. Arkwright, you shall now have a duel. And I, Itsuki Sumeragi, will serve as the witness. The duel shall end either if Harold uses his weapon, if one you gives up, or if I judge that the battle cannot go on. Are there any objections?”】
【”【”There are none.”】”】
The duo’s voices overlapped. They were both so concentrated that they could only see each other.
【”Then, may the duel, for a marriage to Erica Sumeragi, beg-“】
But that concentration was easily destroyed by Itsuki’s words.
Just now, he had said that the duel was for a marriage with Erica. Harold had not misheard.
【”Are you seriously asking me what’s freaking wrong? How is getting married to Erica related to this duel?”】
He hadn’t said engagement but marriage. In other words, it meant that the winner would directly get married to Erica.
That was strange. They had agreed that, if Harold won, he would get the right to order Francis around, and if Francis won, Harold would disappear from Itsuki’s and Erica’s lives.
【”It’s fine. If you want to marry Erica, all you have to do is win.”】
【”Idiot. That’s not what I’m freaking worried about.”】
【”Besides, you’re already engaged to Erica, and if you lose, Franck will likely constantly try to seduce her anyway, right? So isn’t it pretty much the same as the initial wager?”】
【”It’s completely different. Especially since your intention is-“】
【”-Ah, hold on a second, please. I don’t really get what’s going on but…. In short, if I win, I’ll be able to make Erica my wife?”】
【”Yeah, but I’m pretty sure that’s not gonna be possible for you, Franck.”】
Itsuki provoked Francis with a smile. Perhaps his personality had been influenced by Harold.
However, Francis chose to close his eyes, cross his arms, and indulge in his reveries in silence. After he did that for a while, he opened his eyes, and his face seemed more determined than it did before.
【”I feel even more motivated all of a sudden. Let’s get real serious here!”】
Francis’ emerald green eyes were shining as he prepared to use his rapier.
Harold had a bad presentiment.
And at the moment when Itsuki finished reiterating his statement as a witness and gave the start signal, Harold knew that said presentiment was right.
Francis shortened the distance between him and Harold and thrust his rapier at him. It wasn’t fast enough to overwhelm Harold in anyway as he could deal with it by simply avoiding it.
However, it was still stronger and sharper than expected. Therefore, Harold dodged it by reflex, without thinking. This attack was what was supposed to become Francis’ final “All out blow” in Harold’s plans.
(He used the Brave mode right from the start? The hell?!)
It was a sort of invincible mode, similar to what Liner had displayed in the fighting competition. It had plenty of advantages; it made the attack power go up, it reduced the damage received by half, and it made it so that, even if a character in brave mode was attacked while he was executing a technique, said technique could not be invalidated or skipped in the middle of its execution.
However, it was a “gauge technique” that needed a gauge, an attack bar, to be filled by combinations of attack points, combo points, and guard points throughout the fight. It wasn’t something that could be used right from the get go.
(Could it be that there is no need to fill an attack bar here? Is it some kind “you can use it if your feelings are strong enough” thing? Are you freaking kidding me?! Or rather, more important than that….)
Harold kept dodging over and over while trying to put his chaotic thoughts back in order. Originally, for the sake of being defeated, he was planning to only avoid the attacks that he could easily predict and let the powerful ones reach him or block them.
But he was in a vicious circle that was making him part ways with his plans to be defeated, and was making his too numerous thoughts scatter away.
Harold had a plan which consisted of knocking down Francis with bare hand techniques and then make him recover with some items he had prepared so as to make Francis “earn Harold’s experience points”.
As aforementioned, this world had a level-up system, but that also meant that there were different sets of experience points to gain upon fighting different opponents. In『Brave Hearts』, it was specified that the characters who participated in a battle would gain 100% of their experience points, while the characters who were put in a near-death state within the battle, or the ones who were kept as backup, would gain 70% of their experience points. And, even upon losing, there were still some experience points to gain.
In RPGs, although there weren’t many experience points to gain from the monsters randomly encountered on the field, the boss characters were worth a great deal points.
That was even more true in Harold’s case, as he was the boss character who had the most fights with the hero’s party.
The original Harold was worth 8000 points in his first battle, 35,000 in his second battle, and in his last battle he was worth 72,000 experience points. Currently, considering his level, Harold was probably worth around 60,000 experience points.
Upon losing a battle against an opponent, the experience gained would be of 10% that opponent’s worth in points. So, in Harold’s case, it would be 6,000 points.
And, at level thirty, 5000 experience points were needed to level up. That would be raised to about 6000 or more starting from level 35, but still, Francis would be able to gain a level every time he fought once or twice.
That was how far Harold had pushed his calculations, however, he had no way to ascertain this as he had no real proof of it. So, naturally, Harold had considered the possibility that no matter how many times he beat down Francis, it would be meaningless.
However, if this hypothesis was right, he could hope for a tremendous strengthening of Francis’ capacities. If he missed this chance where he could move freely with only few restrictions before going back to being Justus’ chess piece, Harold would have a hard time to fight Liner and the others as many times as the original Harold did in the game’s story.
Therefore, if Harold was going to do it, now was the time. Francis was severely criticized by the game’s players, they often put him out of their starting lineup, calling him “Delicate”, a “jack of all trades, master of none”, or even a “destitute prince”, and to make matters worse, “clearing the game with the prince in your lineup” was even considered an achievement that needed a special game-play. So if Harold could actually strengthen him, it would surely raise the strength of the hero’s party as a whole.
As for how he was going to be defeated, Harold could still think of a way to do that while fighting.
While feeling slightly despaired about that, Harold drove a kick towards Francis’ flank.
Translator’s note: This one was complicated, I hope you guys still get what happened. It relies very much on the fact that you’ve read other novels, manga and the like. As for the experience points system, it might be weird for you but it’s pretty similar to the one in Persona, and in many other JRPGs. Basically, if an opponent is worth 1000 points, everyone in the party gets 1000 points each, the dead/backup ones get 700 points, and upon losing, the player 100 points.
Also, last but not least, if you’d like to read chapter 71 or its preview (1/3 of the chapter) right away, and support me at the same time, you can do that by pledging on my patreon!
I’d also like to thank the new patrons, Ranga Q and Kat, and the old patrons as well, of course, thank you very much for your support!