Chapter 1 – There can Only be One Victor!
The day after Kurou had been discharged.
Kurou was standing inside the grove of trees about a hundred metres away from his new house.
Wearing the uniform of the academy, both hands were gripped tightly onto his sword as he lifted it into a raised position.
Without giving off any fighting spirit or vigour, he suddenly brought the sword down in a flash. Returning the sword to the raised position, he repeated swinging his sword.
Obviously, he wasn’t able to practice his swordsmanship while he was in the hospital. Also he had spent the whole of yesterday moving his things around in the new house, so other than cleaning he hadn’t been able to do anything else.
Because he hadn’t been able to do rehabilitation, this training was essential. As expected, his current state was much weaker than normal.
Even so, Kurou didn’t feel like he would lose to Sefi now. Although it might seem a little rude to Sefi, he had confidence that if they were to fight a hundred battles he would win every one of them.
This is your loss, Kurou—
How many times had the Sword Saint Hyouka, who was also his master, said those words to him?
The Seven Swords was a title given to the strongest amongst the Swordies.
Within the Seven Swords, the most brilliant of them was given the title of Sword Saint.
Kurou had spent the better part of seven years crossing blades with her on a daily basis. And each time he had been beaten by her. For the strongest swordswoman amongst the Swordies, there was no way a human brat like Kurou could ever win against her, and Hyouka’s victories were all but a forgone conclusion.
However, he didn’t plan on losing to anyone else other than the Sword Saint. No matter what the circumstances.
Even if his physical ability had gone down, or his body had dulled, Kurou wasn’t going to use those as excuses to lose.
Kurou swung his blade down even harder.
Again, and again, he repeated the motion.
After reaching two hundred repetitions— Kurou stopped.
Tilting his neck slightly, he slowly sheathed his sword. As he had just been discharged from the hospital, it would be best if he didn’t exert himself any more than this. There was a fine line between training and ruining his body.
Using a towel to wipe his sweat, he returned back home.
As today was a Monday, he obviously planned on going to school, but there was still time. Taking a shower now would be a hassle, but felt he should at least wash his face.
Previously, home was just a small cottage with very little floor space, but now it was a two story building, so the number of rooms had increased.
The living room, kitchen, bath, toilet and Kurou’s room were located on the first floor. Sefi’s and Hinako’s rooms were on the second floor, Kurou being forbidden up there. As this moment, Kurou didn’t feel like breaking that particular restriction. If he was going to sneak up there, it would only be after he had meticulously planned and prepared beforehand.
Entering the house, he headed to the washroom.
A nice smell wafted over, which probably meant Sefi was in the kitchen cooking breakfast. Cooking was one of her interests, and she was a pretty good one at that. The proof of that was the meal she had prepared yesterday, which had satisfied Kurou.
“It’s great I get to eat good food every day from now on!”
Kurou and Hinako both couldn’t cook. Especially Hinako, who couldn’t even do something as simple as preparing instant ramen. Now that Sefi was here, Kurou felt relief over his eating arrangements.
While imagining what was for breakfast, Kurou opened the door to the washroom.
Kurou tilted his head slightly.
It had totally slipped his mind, but the washroom in the new house also doubled up as the changing room for the bath.
And because of that, there was nothing strange about Sefi being in the washroom in a stage of undress.
On the contrary, Sefi was the one with a strange look on her face as she stared at Kurou, who had justed entered the washroom.
“Good morning, Sefi.”
“Good morning… Wait, why are you even entering in the first place!?”
Sefi looked like she was just about to take her shower, because she was wearing nothing but a pair of white panties.
As soon as Kurou had entered she had quickly covered her chest with her hands, but the rest of her skin was almost fully exposed. Sefi’s breasts were reasonably big and nicely shaped, and with them wobbling like jelly they looked soft to the touch.
“Well, I was thinking I might as well take a shower.”
“If that’s the case then do it after I’m done!”
“But if we shower together we can save on the water bill, right?”
“I’ll pay for my portion of the water bill, so let me shower alone!”
There was no real need to appeal to him like that, but Sefi was in a panic so she had just blurted out something that didn’t make sense at all.
“By the way, I can’t really see your chest very well so would you mind moving your hands away?”
“I’m keeping them there so you can’t see them!”
She had already removed her bra, so other than her chest being covered by her hands, Kurou had a clear view of everything else. Even so, his selfishness made him unsatisfied even though he was already seeing her hands bra.
“Ah, enough! Why are we talking normally like nothing’s wrong!? Hurry up and get out! If you don’t leave in three seconds, I will smash this changing room and you!”
“So you’re going to go wild again, huh…”
Kurou murmured like it was someone else’s problem.
The truth was, with Sefi’s power, she could easily destroy the whole house, to say nothing of a single room.
“Guess it can’t be helped then…”
Kurou spent two seconds burning the sight of Sefi’s chest into his eyes, before fleeing out of the washroom like a frightened hare in the last second remaining.
It was only because Kurou possessed amazing physical ability for a human that he was able to move that quickly.
“Idiot idiot idiot—!”
He could hear Sefi’s stream of abuse from behind the closed door.
Considering that he had stared at her half-naked body with all his might as well as continued to stay inside the toilet, the fact that Sefi hadn’t resorted to violence was a reflection of her kind nature.
Although, if he did go too far with his sexual harassment, who’d know what Sefi might do then.
“Still, I did get to see something nice this early in the morning…”
“Good for you…”
As Kurou was having a lewd look on his face, a voice suddenly cut him off.
When he finally noticed his surroundings, Hinako was already standing next to him, staring at Kurou intently.
“As always Kuro, you’re up to your sexual harassment again…”
“Wouldn’t it be an insult to a beautiful lady if I saw her naked figure but turned and ran away? It would make it seem like I had just seen something weird.”
“Kuro, that was a fantastic excuse to give…”
From the bottom of her heart, Hinako was left dumbfounded by Kurou.
Today Hinako was wearing that nurse outfit again. Having said that though, she hadn’t nursed him yesterday. She was just a girl who liked wearing particular outfits without doing any work in particular.
“Hm? If Sefi’s in the bath, why is there such a nice smell of food? Did she already cook breakfast?”
“I made breakfast this morning. It will be ready soon, so please head to the living room.”
“Ehhhhhh, Hinako cooked!? That’s impossible!”
“There’s no reason for you to be surprised to that extent…”
No, there is, thought Kurou as he gazed at Hinako suspiciously.
Based on Kurou’s experience, Hinako could not even discern how to use a vacuum so it was certainly possible that she had never cooked before.
“What happened to this world during my stay at the hospital……”
“Please don’t mention a drastic change occurring to the world just because I mastered a skill. Even a person like me will mature.”
Hinako swiftly turned around and headed back towards the kitchen.
Hinako cooking, huh————
I should probably have an antacid on hand, thought Kurou as he unexpectedly began to panic.
The living room of their new home was carpeted. Other than the TV, table, and a small cupboard, there were essentially no other pieces of furniture or appliances. It was a quite plainly adorned room.
Kurou was sitting right in front of the table at the center of the room.
“Hey Kuro, please eat while it’s still hot.”
Hinako emphatically placed a plate down on the table.
The dish consisted of rice, eggs, as well as thinly sliced pork meat. It had been cooked with onions and carrots, plus it was seasoned————in essence it was char siu rice.
Although Sefi had not returned from the shower room yet, it was probably best to eat now before it became cold.
“Thank you for the meal.”
Kurou politely pressed his hands together and proceeded to slowly scoop up some of the char siu rice with a spoon, placing it in his mouth.
“Eh? Not bad.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing, nothing at all.”
Upon noticing Hinako’s teary eyes looking his way, Kurou immediately began denying that there was anything to it.
To have dabbled in the thought of an antacid seemed to be very disrespectful. Hinako performed far beyond expectations in creating an edible dish, thus he stated as such.
Even its rich flavor suited Kurou’s taste. Kurou did not utter a word as he moved the spoon around and scarfed down the char siu rice.
“……Mmm, tasty. Thank you for the meal.”
Kurou set his spoon down and pressed his hands together once again.
“That said, why were you continuously making char siu rice since morning?”
“Jeez, to be questioning me now after you’ve already eaten.”
“Hey Sefi, you done showering?”
Sefi, having exited the showers, entered the living room and sat across from Kurou.
“You live such a sloppy lifestyle Kurou. Having food prepared and served right to you really makes you look like an imbecile. Didn’t you used to say no matter what you eat, it will taste delicious?”
“Whatever do you mean?”
Kurou chuckled as he shook his head.
“Something more delicious than Sefi, such a thing cannot possibly exist in this universe……”
“Now you’re asking for it.”
Sefi tightly clenched her fists while staring him down with an austere expression.
Kurou wanting to someday eat Sefi, that was indeed the truth.
“I’m glad that you like it Kuro. Also, here’s a bento.”
Kurou was handed a bento box from Hinako, his eyes flickered in surprise.
That slightly larger than usual bento box was jam-packed with char siu rice.
“By the way, for dinner we are having more nutritious char siu rice that is laden with pork.”
“Eh——, that sounds pretty good.”
“Are you serious!?”
Sefi shouted at the top of her lungs while Kurou and Hinako took a glance at each other.
“To think I thought Rou was more ridiculous! Hina, you can’t even make anything else!?”
“Well, for her to be able to make one dish, isn’t that still amazing? If it were me, this cutting, cooking, steaming and such, I could never accomplish such tasks.”
“Then again, Rou is also way too lax about this……”
From the looks of it, Sefi was also quite unpleased with Kurou’s response.
In regards to Kurou’s eating habits, he was not particularly picky when it came to taste.
“For now, Hina and I will just alternate cooking every other day. However, even that is quite unfavorable.”
“My taste buds are quite delicate. I could never eat something as oily as this early in the morning.”
“In that case, couldn’t you just teach Hinako how to cook?”
“Of course, did you think I was going to let her make the same thing every time!?”
Hmm, Kurou pondered as he drank a sip of tea.
He noticed it ever since yesterday. It seemed Sefi and Hinako had already gotten along quite well. With the endearing nickname, “Hina”, it probably served as a proof of friendship.
With the exception of being a bit over the top when making the char siu rice, Hinako’s cooking appeared to be learned through Sefi.
The situation had certainly become quite perplexing.
Sefi and Hinako————who would have ever known that their relations would reach the point where they would live under the same roof. For them to even be conversing was quite unfathomable.
Seventy years ago, at that time the whole world was enveloped in war.
The Great War was at a point where neither side would budge and as each nation exhausted their resources, an extraordinary change suddenly occurred——
Countless portals that were connected to another world had their gates opened up. Following that, the entire world was trampled upon by the Swordies who swarmed in————
The victor of the Great War was the Swordies.
To add to that, the portals disappeared just as instantaneously as when they first appeared. Having lost access to their homeworld, the Swordies decided to turn Japan into their new homeworld and implemented a new government system.
For the Swordies who prevailed and became the dominant ones, they governed the humans————specifically the Japanese. With the prevalence of discrimination, there clearly was a rift between the two sides.
Sefi was the daughter of the four rulers who were at the pinnacle of the Swordie government————she was the princess of the four generals.
On the flip side, Hinako was a human. The difference in status between her and Sefi was poles apart.
Normally speaking, two people like them————wait, including Kurou, having the three of them eating the same meal under the same roof was just unimaginable.
“……Even so, you’re such a good person for eating the char siu rice after all.”
“What nonsense. If it were left aside as such it’d be a huge waste!”
As Sefi was wolfing down the char siu rice, she loudly shouted at Kurou.
“More like if it were Sefi’s leftovers, it would fetch a high price from Kuro……”
“That wasn’t necessary you know!”
It appeared that their relationship had turned for the better. Kurou’s eyes filled with warmth as he gazed at the two girls.
In present day Japan, the way Swordies treated human was always filled with prejudice to some extent.
However, Sefi was a notable exception. Sefi, who was at the zenith of status, had no issues with the lower class humans. Furthermore, she had been friends with Kurou since childhood, so perhaps that contributed to it as well.
No matter how one looked at it, it was great that Sefi had no intentions of behaving in such silly discriminatory ways.
Hinako, because of the unique conditions she was raised under, was unfamiliar with the customs of modern day Japan————such as the discrimination between humans and Swordies. Kurou thought it was also nice that Hinako was not the type to be obsequiously acting inferior.
“Rou, what are you fixated on? Hurry up and finish eating, then let’s go to school————“
“Hmm? What’s the matter Sefi?”
Sefi’s gaze was honed onto one spot. Kurou turned his head and followed her line of sight.
“What a pleasant aroma wafting around this early in the morning. I truly envy your dietary lifestyle, Kurou.”
When did she arrive? A woman was standing at the entrance of the living room.
She was tall and had her gleaming brown hair tied behind her. She wore a black blazer over her white shirt, a tight fitting miniskirt, and a red overcoat draped on as usual. Like a samurai, she had her longsword and dagger hanging by her waist.
“What is a deputy?”
Hinako was not in the least surprised with the intruder as she nonchalantly questioned.
“The deputy is just the deputy. She’s a prestigious member of the Sabers, second only to the director.”
Kurou appropriately answered.
The so-called Sabers was the name of the public security force that Kurou was affiliated with.
The black blazer and overcoat which the deputy was wearing was the uniform of the Sabers.
Within the capital of Japan————Tokyo Swordia, the police would investigate ordinary criminals while the Sabers were responsible for terrorist activities. The cops primarily consisted of humans. In contrast to that, members of the Sabers were practically all Swordies. However, Kurou was the sole human member within the Sabers.
“It’s just as Kurou explained. Oh that’s right, Sefi-sama, this is our first time meeting each other. I’m the Sabers’ deputy, Sabina.”
“……I’m Sefi. Since I’m just a student, there’s no need to be so formal.”
Despite her nodding, the deputy still had not changed her courtesies. It was a sharp contrast from her perfunctory tone towards Kurou.
“Well, it doesn’t really matter. Deputy, why are you here?”
“Things have gotten quite riled up, I’ll explain later. Just follow me, and Sefi-sama, would you please join us as well?”
After Sefi nodded, the deputy departed from the living room without waiting for Kurou’s response.
Of course to Kurou, since she was his superior, if she had said to “come with” then he would be obliged to follow.
Kurou and Sefi glanced at each other, and then nodded towards Hinako.
“Will you be ok by yourself Hinako?”
“I believe so.”
Hinako stoically nodded.
Due to certain circumstances, she was now guarded by Kurou. However, Kurou was also hospitalized for two weeks. During that time, there was not a chance that she would be left without a replacement bodyguard.
Although it was not visible, there was someone protecting Hinako from somewhere unbeknownst to them————
Even Kurou knew about that and Hinako probably heard about it too.
“Time to go Kurou.”
Of course, Sefi understood as well.
Right now, there would not be any problems even if Hinako was left alone. Kurou stood up from his seat and walked towards the door along with Sefi.
Surprisingly, the place the deputy brought them to was nearby.
Within the Sword Academy, excluding the main campus that encompassed all grades, there was an additional secondary campus that contained a group of special classrooms and teacher facilities.
“It’s right here.”
The deputy halted right in front of a conference room on the second floor of the secondary campus building.
Stationed in front of the conference room door were two girls that stood like soldiers. Upon seeing the two of them, Sefi revealed an astonished expression.
“Romis, Remis, why are you two……I guess there’s no point in asking.”
The girl standing on the left side of the door nodded in silence to Sefi.
The two known as Romis and Remis possessed nearly matching outer features. One swift look and it was obvious that they were twins. Whether it was their facial complexion or their body type, it was all identical. They were approximately twenty years of age. Appearance-wise they looked a bit inanimate, perhaps due to their stoic expressions. However, they could be considered as pure beauties as well.
Both of them had silver hair extending to their backs. They were wearing a thin, white-toned shirt that had silver lines throughout along with a similar style white miniskirt. Even the scabbard and hilt of their slender swords were white. The only piece that was different was the black mantle draped over their shoulders.
Their attire was the formalwear of the Sword Princess.
Before a Swordie reached eighteen years-old, they can attain the title of Swordsman. The Swordsman title was conferred to them by their masters or school teachers. Kurou was given the title by his master——Sword Saint Hyouka. With the title, one could enlist in the army or enter a police-related occupation that required the use of a sword.
Furthermore, the position that surpassed the Swordsman was the Sword Princess.
Those who are able to attain the title are few and far in between and needless to say, those who did were all exceptional with the sword. Their numbers were scarce, yet Romis and Remis are two Sword Princesses. To add to that, the deputy was one as well.
Kurou’s line of sight shifted away from them as he began sprucing himself up. He used his hands to straighten out his hair and button up his unbuttoned shirt. Kurou understood that the two twin Sword Princesses served as bodyguards for a certain someone.
The person awaiting them was not someone you could just show up all disheveled for.
As Kurou deftly straightened out his appearance, the deputy knocked on the conference room door.
As soon as the “please come in” response was heard, the deputy entered the conference room. Sefi and Kurou followed her inside.
The conference room seemed unusually spacious.
Normally there would be tables and chairs lined up around the room. Here however, there was only one table in the depths of the room. On the table there lay a laptop and a pile of documents spread across it.
The young woman that was sitting there stood up and smiled.
Although she was calm, her voice was quite resounding. She maintained a stern appearance and exuded an intense willpower from her eyes. Her radiant blonde hair was trimmed into a short hairstyle. Her dark blue dress resembled military attire, yet the style was also quite evident from the uniform.
“It’s been a while Onee-sama.”
Sefi walked towards the center of the room and politely lowered her head.
Indeed, the person wearing the dress was a woman named Sylphy, Sefi’s older sister.
She was the eldest daughter of the supreme four generals and she was their successor, hence the reason she wore a military style dress. Moreover, due to the four generals’ pedigree, that family tradition had been kept even until now.
Sylphy was twenty-six years old and although she was still very young, she had assumed the role of a government official.
The four generals were the zenith of the Swordie government and ranked below them were the government officials and the general populace. In fact, the government’s powers consisted of making practically all of the important legislation decisions and the four generals who were above them only handled the more serious cases.
In other words, Sylphy had already become the backbone of the country and it was established that she would be the one to hold the supreme position.
With a well-behaved attitude, Kurou stayed near a window in the room and waited. As a human, he could not act all grandiose and be talkative in front of Sylphy. Even as a Swordie and being in charge of the Sabers organization, the deputy stayed a step behind Sefi.
Of course, Sefi had also discerned this level of subtlety. As a result, only she could engage in conversation with Sylphy. She faced her sister and spoke up.
“Onee-sama, why did you come to the academy?”
“So I could see Sefi……that’s what I would like to say. However, this is not the case. The incident this time even requires the government to set up a committee of inquiry and I was elected as a member.”
Sylphy shrugged her shoulders. She sighed as she sat back in her chair again.
“Of course, it’s Manaka’s————the incident involving the Blazes. It was also determined that the academy where the incident spawned should have an investigation office established. Thus, we’ll be borrowing this conference room.”
As she spoke, Sylphy smiled towards her sister.
Such a smile and that bright, beaming voice would surely bring about an uplift in mood. Sylphy possessed what seemed to be the qualities of a natural born leader.
However, Kurou also knew that Sylphy carried other traits as well……
“Well then, please let me hear the report Kurou.”
Despite suddenly hearing himself called upon, Kurou did not waver. Since he would not be invited without intention, he predicted that it was bound to happen. He also realized that the deputy probably summoned him to give the report while Sefi was to provide supplementary explanations if needed.
Kurou began explaining the chain of events.
First of all, in the human residential areas of the Outer Human Region of Tokyo Swordia, there were numerous tsujigiri incidents. The criminals of those incidents were first-year students from the Sword Academy who were the first and second ranked academically in the school. Although the victims of the crimes were deadbeats, murder was still murder.
Originally, punitive measures were to be taken for these criminals. However, it was no longer possible.
Migune, the number one ranked student, was found dead on the side of the road. Following that, the second ranked Freya was also killed during the elimination tournament that was set for every grade.
“The person who murdered both of them was a first-year student from the Sword Academy. Her name is Neena.”
She was Sefi’s friend who had braids tied together and wore glasses, which was a rare sight for Swordies.
No, Neena was not an ordinary Swordie. She was————what was known as a Blaze, a race that especially craved combat even among Swordies.
The Blazes and Swordies had hostile relations. However, Neena’s assassination of Migune and Freya was unrelated to the Blaze incident.
Neena’s reason for killing the two was quite meager. Neena could not forgive Migune and Freya who engaged in such trifling matters such as murdering those hooligans. Moreover, to Neena, who was a Blaze, none of the first-years were on par to be her opponent.
“However, from her statements and actions, Neena’s true objective was to kill Sefi.”
“That’s right Onee-sama, Neena truly exuded killing intent towards me.”
“What a dangerous situation.”
Sylphy, who had been tacitly listening to Kurou’s report and then heard Sefi’s supporting claim, changed her expression for the first time. Although Neena was unsuccessful in killing Sefi, there was no way she could just turn a blind eye towards her sister’s perilous encounter.
“Well then, that means the person who assigned her the target was————Sword General Manaka?”
Sword General Manaka————was someone who Neena looked up to and she referred to her as “Onee-sama”. Having directed Neena to engage in covert operations, Manaka was the mastermind behind it all.
To Kurou, she was his master’s, Sword Saint Hyouka’s, little sister as well as the director, thus making her his superior.
For a human, Kurou was already extremely formidable. Despite that, it was nigh impossible for him to match up against Sword General Manaka in combat. For him to be able to fend her off was already a miracle. At the expense of just a two week stay at the hospital, it must have been a fluke.
“My report concludes here.”
“I see, thank you very much Kurou.”
Sylphy nodded extensively. With Sylphy’s pinnacle status, such displays of gratitude were practically unthinkable towards a human like Kurou.
Perhaps it was because Kurou was affiliated with the Sabers, or maybe it was due to him being the Sword Saint’s disciple?
“So you were immediately hospitalized afterwards, that means you’re not clear on what ensued after that right?”
“Indeed, everything I know from then on was from TV news broadcasts.”
Kurou mannerly nodded.
According to the news, Sword General Manaka had already been stripped of her title.
Manaka and the anti-government faction were in cahoots, she killed Sabers members, and then fled————that was the extent of the reporting. It refrained from disclosing the existence of the Blazes.
“Of course, we are also investigating. Within the members of the Seven Swords, two government chambers, business directors, the wealthy, and within the upper echelons of society, the Blazes who may have infiltrated have been practically left unhindered despite background checks. Not only do we want to uncover the Blazes, we are also forced to examine Swordies and humans who have had relations with Blazes as well as the flow of people and money.”
“Sounds like a headache……”
Such endless investigating would make one feel aggravated just from thinking about it.
“Tell me about it. Of course, we investigate any Blaze related incidents. Although they reside within their so-called ‘refuge’, there are quite a few whose whereabouts are unknown. However, it’s unclear whether or not those untraceable Blazes have been in contact with anti-government organizations. Furthermore, because the Blaze population significantly decreased after the war, it’s unclear how many were confined within the refuge. A lot of records are missing from that place as well.”
Although Kurou had predicted such an outcome, it was still hard to imagine carrying forth that kind of investigating.
“There are plenty of things I’m unsure of, particularly Manaka’s whereabouts. Despite our utmost efforts to track her……”
Sylphy casted a glance towards the deputy who began to speak.
“Even though the Sabers also fielded a small investigative unit to track down our former director, ever since her escape from the Sword Academy we haven’t been able to find her trail. Even if we do encounter her……”
“Containing Manaka would be a daunting task and let’s not even get into arresting her. Assuming we can confirm her place of residence, we’ll come up with countermeasures.”
Sylphy sounded quite exasperated as she ruffled her cheeks.
Specifically what should be done, that was what Kurou had the hardest time grasping. Although she was a traitor, Manaka was undoubtedly selected as a Seven Sword based on her strength. It would still be a massive struggle even if a couple Sword Princesses were utilized in capturing her.
“The Sabers have also added more female members to reinforce our combat squad. Originally, we anticipated Kurou to return to us.”
“Kurou has his studies as well. Even if Manaka is a traitor, she definitely ordered the protection of the daughter of the Sun Cult founder. Kurou has to continue protecting Sakurai Hinako. Of course, he should also be able to continue going to school without an issue.”
“Are you sure that’s ok?”
Kurou was slightly caught off guard by this.
With the appearance of a Blaze traitor group, Kurou had also considered the possibility of being recalled as a member of the Sabers, especially since Kurou and Manaka’s fates were deeply linked.
“Honestly, even the government is uncertain at to what measures should be taken.”
Sylphy sighed as she continued to ruffle her cheeks.
“I believe we should determine our course of action as soon as possible. However, despite being a member, I’m still quite young. I certainly don’t have the credibility to make such irresponsible remarks towards a situation like this. The situation has clearly altered already.”
“Altered? What’s going on Onee-sama?
Sefi questioned her with a serious expression. From the looks of it, even Sefi was unfamiliar with the details of the situation.
“During these past two weeks, five Swordie officials, or perhaps they were business directors, have been killed.”
“Five people……were they all important individuals?”
“It’s not exactly like that. They all have some sort of status, but it’s not like they’re irreplaceable. Well, I guess you can say the gears of society are now shifting.”
Kurou thought that was quite an overstatement, however he did not voice his opinion. Voicing such thoughtlessness was impermissible.
“And, there’s one peculiar incident out of the five deaths.”
“A peculiar incident?”
Kurou tilted his head.
“Out of these five incidents, four of them were clean one-hit kills. However, in one of those incidents, the corpse was crudely cut apart. I’ve seen the autopsy report as well, it’s akin to an outsider’s swordsmanship. Perhaps they might not even be affiliated with the Blazes.”
Kurou only knew two Blazes. However, those two were exceptional sword wielders who were strong beyond words. It was difficult to imagine the Blazes using such unnecessary sword maneuvers.
“However, there’s another bizarre occurrence. Everyone who was slaughtered was apparently frozen or electrocuted, with that being the last attack they suffered.”
“……Perhaps the murders are all independent from one another?”
“Besides the sword wounds, there were traces of impact wounds from being hit by a truck as well. Basically this one incident is quite shrouded in mystery……however, this was written in the report you submitted before your hospital stay correct?”
“Those were mystic arts.”
Kurou slowly nodded his head.
It was said that in the past, there were three reasons why Swordies attained victory.
One was of course a Swordie’s overwhelming physical capabilities and sword prowess.
The second was mystic arts————controlling flames, ice, and lightning, that sort of magical ability. To be able to attack from afar, they assisted the Swordies in their piercing attack.
Even though practically every Swordie was able to use this sort of power during the Great War, for some reason countless individuals lost their mystic art abilities once the portals closed and their contact with their homeworld was severed.
The generations of Swordies born after the war were innately unable to use mystic arts and could never learn to use them at all.
However, Manaka and Neena, both of whom had battled against Kurou, were able to manipulate the powers of the mystic arts.
“It was said that the mystic arts were originally passed along to the Swordies by the Blazes. For that group to be able to use mystic arts in the present era isn’t really inconceivable. Compared to this, to specifically use mystic arts as their final strike, it’s understandable that this was clearly meant to provoke us. However, this is really what’s concerning. It’s like they are saying ‘come get us.’”
Kurou felt very impressed. For Sylphy to have contemplated about it to such extent, no wonder she became a government official at such a young age. Even Kurou did not really read much into the use of mystic arts. Despite the danger factors, overall this was emblematic of the Blazes.
“Well, that’s why I’m saying that the Blazes are on the move again. Because of that, we must determine suitable measures right away. However, the only thing we are capable of doing right now is just investigating the incident involving Manaka.”
Sefi apprehensively raised her hand.
“Why was Neena so intent on killing me? Although, she didn’t seem quite sure herself since she was probably just ordered to do so.”
“Ah, I don’t know but I can deduce a reason.”
Sylphy once again rested her elbows on the table and crossed her hands in front of her face.
“Do you know about the genocide and isolation of the Blazes?”
Kurou had also heard about this matter. Even among Swordies, the Blazes were particularly adept in battle and were extremely dynamic during the Great War. After the war, they were rejected by the government for their thirst for battle and being too powerful, thus leading to their cleansing.
To add to that, the survivors of the cleansing resided in an isolated area. They were not permitted to wield swords in an effort to curb their dangerous disposition.
“Seventy years ago, the greatest proponent of the cleansing and isolation policy was one of the four generals of the past————Lanafi. Known as the great strategist————she was our great grandmother.”
“Eh? Our great grandmother————so there’s still people carrying a grudge from way back then!?”
Sefi was greatly astonished. In reality, being the one whose life was sought after, it was unthinkable how someone could carry a grudge from over seventy years ago.
“Although it’s regrettable, our great grandmother departed from this world thirty years ago. Hence, it’s very possible that they would target her great grandchildren. Presently within our family, the one whose security measures are the most lacking would be Sefi.”
That statement was understandable, yet confusing at the same time.
The Blazes had been isolated even till now and although they were Swordies with a penchant for swords, they were unable to wield swords or enlist in the police department and military battle squads.
Getting revenge due to the current state of hate and suffering, Kurou could understand such a notion. However……
“You have a puzzled expression there Kurou. You are a notable swordsman, but it seems as if you will never understand a person’s emotions.”
“I apologize, that’s because I’ve been in the mountains every day until a year ago……”
During the seven years he grew up there, he lived together with the Sword Saint and his fellow disciple, Lars. Although they would occasionally be paid a visit by those seeking the Sword Saint, Kurou basically had no interactions with other people.
“Listen up Kurou.”
Sylphy calmly began to speak.
“Grudges don’t necessarily dissipate over time. Just like how you rigorously hone a technique, the fangs of revenge are sharpened over a long period of time. Even among those Blazes who experienced the cleansing seventy years ago, there will be those who will never let go. Perhaps the mastermind behind planning these treacherous acts is that sort of person. These so-called emotions———are unexpectedly unyielding objects.
Sylphy, who had stated as such, appeared to be pretty excited.
Perhaps she too possessed an unyielding heart————Kurou was pretty sure of that.
The door to the conference room opened.
Since the deputy mentioned that she still had work to attend to, she decided to return to Sabers headquarters. With the disappearance of the director, the deputy inherited her responsibilities so the work that she had to do was probably a mountainous task.
If it were possible, Kurou also wished to go back. However, Sylphy still had things to say.
The moment Kurou directed his eyes towards the door, a peculiar change occurred. He turned his head and noticed that Sylphy was tightly hugging Sefi while frenziedly rubbing against her cheeks.
“W-Wait a sec Onee-sama!”
“Ha——, onee-sama has been really lonely. Despite clearly being able to go to school from our house, Sefi-tan chose to dorm at the school.”
She was unmistakably a sis-con.
Kurou was particularly surprised when the successor of the four generals revealed such a nonsensical expression.
Sylphy was the Sword Saint’s friend. In the past, Sylphy would head to the mountains to visit the Sword Saint. The only reason Kurou and Sefi met back when they were just little kids was because Sefi tagged along with Sylphy.
Of course, when it came to Sylphy’s heavy case of the sis-con syndrome, Kurou was also very knowledgeable on that matter.
“I-I’m already 16, I should be more independent!”
“Huh——, Sefi-tan is maturing so remarkably. It makes me feel both excited and lonesome. I definitely wish I could let you rest on my lap for another ten years.”
“T-Ten years is a bit……”
Sefi’s face stiffened.
How can a person even call ten more years of that independence? It would not be surprising to see a person marry at that age. Sylphy’s overprotection had gone past the deep end.
“Say Sefi-tan, there are no strange cretins eying you right?”
“……O-Of course not.”
Kurou was probably conscious of the minute pause in Sefi’s response.
Rather, that strange cretin was still within the conference room. Of course, Kurou was going to avoid saying anything unnecessary.
“Sefi-tan must retain her purity till marriage. Actually, even if you do get married you must still retain your beauty.”
“……Onee-sama, that’s outrageous.”
“As long as you stay a virgin I won’t mind anything else they do to you ok?”
Of course, Kurou kept silent. If his sexual harassment of Sefi was revealed to Sylphy, things could get hairy.
Just by utilizing her authority, Sylphy could probably put a human like Kurou to death with ease.
“Oh yeah Kurou, allow me to thank you.”
After being suddenly called upon, Kurou was startled.
“You protected Sefi-tan from the Blazes right? Thank you so much.”
Kurou politely responded. In reality, this was not really something he should have been thanked for. To Kurou, Sefi is a very important girl so guarding her was a given.
“So humble. If possible I wish to express my gratitude somehow, so a personal thanks is the least I can do.”
“Then, may I ask a question?”
Kurou instantly responded.
It was something he wished to ask from the very beginning.
“If that’s all you want then that’s totally fine by me. So go ahead, what’s your question?”
“The matter regarding the Sword Saint……how do you plan on dealing with it?”
Kurou’s master, Sword Saint Hyouka.
She disappeared approximately a year ago. Being the older sister of Manaka who was a Blaze, it obviously meant that Hyouka herself was also a Blaze.
If she was untraceable, the government would probably become suspicious. As for the Sword Saint, Kurou obviously knew that the government would be unable to capture her, but his question was not in regards to that.
“For Hyouka, we have not decided on any course of action yet.”
Sylphy offered a simple reply.
“For the time being, the police are currently investigating. However, it isn’t an official search and it’s not because of the Blaze incident either. The search started ever since her disappearance. It’s true that Hyouka hid her Blaze identity, but there’s no evidence that she has done anything.”
“In other words, in regards to whether or not she will be arrested……”
“It won’t happen. Of course, even though you guys are Hyouka’s disciples, you and Lars won’t be tied to the case. It’s also understood that you guys have no relations with the Blazes. Rather, if they were to arrest anyone with relations to Hyouka, even I would be arrested as her friend.”
Sefi was relieved as she sighed.
She must have been concerned with that matter as well. Although she puts up a tough front, Sefi would always become anxious due to her overly caring nature.
“Furthermore, if a friend of hers like me is permitted to say something on the subject……I don’t think Hyouka has anything to do with the rebellion or whatever. She definitely wouldn’t have interest in such mundane affairs.”
Kurou felt the same way in regards to that.
Sword Saint Hyouka was a woman whose life completely revolved around the sword.
Even though she was discriminated as a Blaze and segregated, it was hard to imagine that she would hold a grudge and point her sword because of it.
“So you don’t really need to concern yourself with Hyouka’s situation. We don’t place much emphasis on it either. In addition, there are countless things that we still don’t know, such as ——this.”
Sylphy returned to the front of her desk and retrieved a photo.
What was captured and enlarged on the photo was the vast blue sky————and a pure black split running down a part of it.
After seventy years, the portal that connected directly to the Swordie homeworld had finally opened again, and then it instantly closed afterwards.
That portal was witnessed by numerous residents within Tokyo Swordia.
“Kurou, you guys don’t know the cause of the portals opening right?”
“Yeah, it’s because during that time I was battling against Manaka.”
Kurou replied with a stern expression.
Actually, in regards to the cause behind the portal’s opening, it was not like he was completely clueless.
However, if he were to mention it————it was possible that those who were close to Kurou may get enveloped by danger. Even though Sefi knew as well, it seemed she was going to remain silent.
“I can’t take it anymore. If this continues, our inability will have no ends. If we aren’t able to at least catch Manaka and Neena……”
Sylphy spoke as if she was frustrated. In fact, it most likely was pure frustration.
At this stage, there was practically nothing that Kurou could assist in. Even if he were to battle against Manaka again, the thought of retreating was quite enticing after contemplating the difference in their strength.
Right as he thought there was nothing else to be said, someone knocked on the door.
“Please come in.”
At some point Sylphy’s sis-con expression had vanished and she reverted back to her resolute manner of speaking.
Following that, the door was opened.
“Nice to meet you Sylphy.”
It was said in a very clear tone.
The person who came in was a girl wearing the Sword Academy’s uniform. Based on the color of her tie, she appeared to be a third-year student.
She had long, light green hair knotted behind her. Her neat appearance exuded a sense of warmth. Indeed, it gave her a gentle complexion. Although her chest was lacking, her body could be described as belonging to that of a model.
How can a beauty like her be in this school————?
Kurou could not help but be captivated by the girl who walked past him as she headed towards Sylphy. However, he instantly realized that he was being glared at by Sefi as he frantically averted his gaze.
“I’m the Sword Academy’s student council president, Isyuto.”
“Ah, the student council president? It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Sylphy smiled during her reply as the two of them shook hands.
“It may be quite rash of me, but there’s something I wish to have your approval for. Would you mind taking a look at this?”
Isyuto handed some documents to Sylphy. After receiving them, Sylphy quickly browsed through the papers————
“I see, but did this really need an outsider like me to grant approval for? It’s just this right? Well, seems fine to me.”
“Thank you very much.”
Isyuto politely bowed.
Sylphy warmly smiled as she returned to the front of her desk and stamped one of the documents.
“This should be fine right?”
“Yes, thank you.”
Upon retrieving the document from Sylphy, Isyuto smiled.
Just what topic was the student council president and Sylphy, a government official, discussing?
Kurou and Sefi were unable to comprehend, hence they just blankly stood there.
“Hey, Isyuto-san, can you explain the situation to those two?”
“Of course, since it will soon be released anyways.”
This time Isyuto stood facing Kurou and Sefi.
“You two are first-years right? How unfortunate, who would have known that the first elimination tournament after you guys enrolled into the school would be suspended.”
Kurou tilted his head.
Due to Freya’s death, the Sword Academy’s first-year elimination matches were suspended. Kurou had no particular interest in those grade based matches so he could have cared less.
“As a result, the students will participate in a substitute event. However, it’d be boring to just restart the elimination matches so that’s why we decided on something that is a bit more stimulating. Since it’s a school competition, I needed Sylphy’s permission.”
As she stated, Isyuto quickly glanced at Sylphy.
“Despite requesting an additional matter, that’s something you guys can look forward to later.”
“I see, well that doesn’t matter. As for this activity, what exactly is it?”
Sefi inquired from Isyuto. She was ranked number three when she enrolled into the academy and originally she had planned on earning the number one spot during the elimination matches. After being told there would be a replacement for it, there was no way she could just ignore this piece of news.
“It sort of has a game aspect to it, well, basically————“
Isyuto once again smiled. As expected of the student council president to have such a captivating smile.
“It’s going to be a battle royal.”
Through the directing of the student council, the replacement event for the suspended elimination matches was set to take place.
The first battle royal bout was going to start in three days from when Kurou and Sefi were first informed of the matter.
Although the situation progressed unexpectedly quick, if they were too lax it may affect future elimination tournaments.
Currently, it was the day of the battle royal.
The first year students gathered at the sports ground of the academy.
There was a giant tent propped up on the sports ground where all the activity officials, which included teachers and upper grade students, could be seen hurriedly running around inside.
Kurou stood quite a distance away from the tent while awaiting the commencement of the event. He was wearing his school uniform as usual. As for the event, the Sword Academy treats the school uniform as formalwear and wearing it was mandatory in order to participate. Since the academy’s uniforms were made from a material that was battle convenient, it would not become a hindrance. Kurou was also ecstatic since the female participants were all wearing their miniskirt uniforms.
The equipment everyone was supposed to use was their wooden sword from practice.
He was surrounded by students and they were practically all girls.
Swordie and human societies were alike. They all went through elementary school, middle school, high school, and college for their studies. The Sword Academy’s educational system was similar to a high school equivalent. However, the Swordies were a race whose life revolved around the sword. As one would expect, that topic would be incorporated throughout their studies within the Sword Academy.
The Sword Academy that Kurou and Sefi both studied at was described as the pinnacle of the Swordie educational system.
Furthermore, Swordies were different from humans. Females possessed exceptional physical capabilities and were more proficient with their swordsmanship.
Swordies also wielded light, which was a powerful source of life energy hidden within their bodies. The greater the quantity of light, the stronger the body. Due to females having a greater quantity of light compared to males, females reigned supreme whether it was in strength or speed.
As a result of the Swordie race being characterized as such, all the notable individuals gathered at the Sword Academy were naturally all girls.
Setting aside gender differences, Kurou was a human that ranked lower than a Swordie male. In most cases, standing on the sports ground of the Sword Academy like this would be unthinkable.
In fact, the girls would cast glances of contempt at Kurou for his inferior strength as a human. With that, they would sometimes also view him with curiosity, akin to having seen a rare animal.
Kurou sighed to himself.
Kurou’s existence within the Sword Academy should have become gradually more apparent. Even so, being casted a peculiar gaze sure had to be annoying……
However, as a human who was raised by a Swordie and wanted to live within Swordie society, Kurou was already accustomed to this.
He was determined to live among the Swordies in the future. In Japan, Swordies were the supreme race and held many privileges. In order to receive the status of a Swordie, he decided to study at the Sword Academy.
A human can attain a Swordie’s status in society. However, normally humans had to buy out the status.
Instead, he planned on using his swordsmanship abilities to become a recognized member among the Swordies. Nevertheless, if it was only exceptional swordsmanship, it would be impossible for him to be conferred the emblematic symbol of Swordie status, an engraved Dagger. The Emblem Management Institution, which was responsible for issuing these daggers, imposed the prerequisite of graduating from a Swordie school.
Of course, in order to live his days in peace after graduation, he had to diligently participate in the battle royal. If he were to attain a respectable grade, he would be very pleased.
Earning Swordie status and having a stable and comfortable lifestyle, that was all Kurou wished for.
He saw Hinako rushing over right in front of him. He had pondered whether or not she would stay home, but it looked like she had come to spectate. Although she was a human, it felt as if she had already assimilated into the Sword Academy.
“Haa, haa, I’m exhausted……I’m terrible at running……”
Hinako stopped right in front of Kurou, panting as she tried to catch her breath.
Today Hinako was wearing a cheerleader outfit. That ripe yellow sleeveless shirt was paired with a revealing miniskirt. Not that it was bothering him, but her panties could be seen while wearing this sort of thing. However, did Hinako know?
“……Although it doesn’t matter to me, why are you wearing this outfit?”
“This seemed to be the appropriate attire for cheering people on, so I thought it would be perfect.”
Hinako unwittingly lightly wiggled her miniskirt as she spoke. After Kurou took a quick glance at those sensuous legs, he once again thought about the contents within that miniskirt.
“You’re right, but even if you didn’t specifically wear these clothes, you can still……”
“Nevermind that, Kuro went too far by heading out in advance. Are you already tired of me?”
“Stop mentioning these unpleasant things. It’s not like that. I called out to you when I was about to leave but weren’t you busy with something? Plus I’d be screwed if I was late.”
“Lately I’ve been getting the feeling that Kuro is sort of tossing me aside.”
Kurou began to explain to Hinako.
After conversing with Sylphy, the deputy sent out a formal notice.
It said to discontinue the job of protecting Sakurai Hinako. Furthermore, he was to allow Hinako the freedom to move about within the Sword Academy.
It would be bothersome guarding her if she ran all over the place, but after the incident involving Manaka, the level of security for the school’s defense system increased. The reasons for Kurou to be closely guarding her could be said to have lessened.
None of that was bad news to Kurou though.
Sakurai Hinako had been locked up in a room ever since she was a child. Until she was fifteen years-old, she had never witnessed the outside world.
Kurou felt that having Hinako freely move around within the Sword Academy’s domain would be a good influence for her.
In addition, if Kurou were to always tightly guard her, it might become unbearable. No matter who it was, there must always be some time for privacy.
Hinako recently seemed————to possess only a sliver of common sense. Kurou believed that if possible, he should make the effort to not interfere with her freedom.
“I now understand why you have been setting me aside. However Kuro, I have a question.”
“Just like old times, saying whatever comes to mind. What is it?”
“What’s a battle royal?”
That’s right, because of Hinako’s caged up lifestyle, her knowledge was extremely limited. She would surprisingly not know about certain matters that were common knowledge.
“In short, it’s not a one versus one, rather it is numerous people battling at once. This time it will be all first year students, with approximately 200 total. Everyone will simultaneously fight. Those who lose will be out of the fight and it will continue till the last person standing.”
“I see……in that case, wouldn’t people target the strongest individuals from the start?”
“That’s the usual convention.”
“Kuro will probably receive the brunt of the attacks. Regardless if it is Kuro being the Sword Saint’s disciple or being able to repel Manaka, everyone should know that by now. May luck be on your side.”
“Don’t pray for me!”
Since Hinako was stoic as always, it was hard to tell whether she was serious or just kidding around.
It was just as she said, the chances of Kurou being sought after was pretty high.
The thought of losing to a human like Kurou would be very shameful. As a result, the number of people to retreat from and cross swords with will probably be numerous. However, the battle royal was practically a festive event————a game rather.
If it was a game, then losing to a human could be excused by just saying “because it was a game, I only did him a favor” by many individuals. That would not be shocking at all.
“Specifically, what are the rules of engagement?”
“After this, everyone has to go to their designated spot. Once we all disperse to our location, then it begins. Whether you run around or stay in one spot, it’s fine either way.”
“So basically there won’t be spectators like there were during the elimination matches. If no one else will witness this, then I get feeling that the number of people who will challenge Kurou will increase immensely.”
From the area of the Sword Academy, the 200 students will probably be spread out in a somewhat large scope of space. Who will lose to who, it would be hard to discern from those outside the battle.
“The students will have these number tags attached to their chest.”
Kurou retrieved a round number 96 golden sign from a bag and attached it to his chest.
“To take down another student, you just have to get them to surrender and take their number tag from them. However, if their tag breaks, then that student loses his right to participate. So it seems it’s alright to directly cut their tag as well.”
Hinako gently nodded.
“In other words, in pretending you are taking their tags, you can freely grab their breasts.”
“Ah, Hinako understands as well.”
“What the heck are you teaching her.”
At some point, deputy Sabina’s figure appeared alongside Kurou and Hinako.
“What do you mean ‘hey’? Are you belittling your assignment?”
“No, it isn’t like that……”
Hinako learned some excessive matters from Kurou. However, Kurou swore an oath to not lay a finger on Hinako. Being fifteen years-old and living independently, Kurou also had to pay the school’s tuition fee. If he were to engage in some brazen encroachment, he would be expelled and be unable to attain Swordie status. In order to avoid that kind of outcome, he had to go against his desires and put reason first.
“Sakurai Hinako is under your protection, you need to make sure she wears proper clothing.”
“That was the problem!?”
Kurou disrespectfully chided the usually stern deputy.
“I didn’t do anything. In regards to exercising restraint, even I know that.”
“Really? Well, if you can’t contain yourself then just let me know. If it’s just the chest, then I can let you rub mine.”
Up till now, his relationship with the deputy had not been really close————Rather, they practically never conversed before and he never knew that she could be so straightforward.
“No problem. Even a human girl wouldn’t be flustered from being licked on the cheeks by her own dog.”
Even if at first glance she seemed pretty frank, the deputy was still a Swordie, an existence that scorned humans like Kurou. Conversing only because he was her subordinate, that was all he should expect.
“Speaking of which, what are you doing here deputy?”
“Sending Sylphy-sama her periodic report.”
The deputy pointed in the direction of the tent. Sylphy was currently sitting on a steel chair and enthusiastically conversing with Sefi. Sylphy seemed to have come to spectate.
“Sylphy-sama doesn’t want a written report and wishes to listen to it instead, hence I came.”
“As expected of Sylphy-sama……”
The eventual successor of the four generals was currently assiduously going about her work. Even if it seemed that she was already a well-known, capable government official, she would be able to serve the people to an even greater extent if she were to attain the pinnacle role.
“Oh right, Lars is also nearing the end of his hospital stay.”
“Eh, that’s surprisingly early.”
Lars was a fellow tutee alongside Kurou as well as his partner from the Sabers.
A Swordie’s recovery abilities far outmatch that of a human. As a result, the underlying reason behind Lars’s recuperation time was very simple. Based on the grave wound he received during his battle versus Manaka, even death would not have been shocking.
“Lars will most likely continue to go to school here. You two better not cause trouble here since the daughter of an important figure will be present.”
After Kurou nodded, the deputy walked off towards the tent. Her weariness was reflected in her footsteps. Being suddenly forced to take over the role of the director, even a Swordie like her appeared to be showing signs of exhaustion.
“Speaking of which Kuro……”
“What is it?”
“What are you going to do about the clothing issue?”
That conversation just now, Hinako appeared to be not paying attention, however it turned out she was.
“……About that, when the time comes I’ll let you know.”
“Nonsense, then how about I ask Sefi?”
“Don’t do it!”
Sefi would probably misunderstand the situation. Kurou was not a masochist, so he wished to avoid getting beat and scolded.
At this time, a large batch of numbers were broadcasted, Kurou’s number included. It appeared that they were to head towards their designated spots.
“Well, I’ll be back shortly.”
“Wait, hold on. Take this.”
Hinako handed him a small package.
“This is char siu rice. Please eat this if you get hungry.”
“So this was what you were doing back at the house, thanks.”
Apparently he was not a stickler for char siu rice. However, who knows how long it will take for this to end. Therefore, he rejoiced having something that would ensure he could replenish his energy.
For the first time, Hinako said something that resembled a cheerleader. However, cheering him on stoically while blankly standing there did not make it much more enthusiastic.
Kurou wryly smiled. He then waved his hand and headed off.
The sharp broadcast reverberated throughout the campus.
As scheduled, the curtains for the battle royal were raised at 10am.
Kurou also heard the broadcast. His assigned starting location was near a conspicuous fir tree located in the forest where he lived.
The moment the broadcast sounded, Kurou left the fir tree that was adjacent to him and started sprinting through the forest.
Although the battle royal had just started, he did not wish to instigate any trouble. When the sounds of wildlife vanished, there was nothing but silence.
However, the students participating in the battle royal all braced themselves. They were all probably acutely sensing the breathing and footsteps of the other two hundred students on the move. Undoubtedly, the students were keyed in on various sounds. Of course, Kurou was no different.
The rules for the battle royal were simple. In short, cutting apart the opponent’s tag was all that was needed. Even staying at one’s starting location and not moving at all was acceptable.
Kurou was inferior to the Swordies when it came to physical capabilities. In order to avoid expending his energy, staying in one place was a viable option. However, he was resolute in heading out.
In regards to a battle royal and such, Kurou had never experienced anything like it. What is in store, how will it turn out, he had no clue at all. Nevertheless, he felt that if he could knock out any students he saw, then everything would be smooth sailing. As opposed to staying at his original location, moving around was the only way for him to dispel any overthinking.
“Well, it’ll work out in the end.”
Kurou was not under the impression that it was ok to lose. However, the battle royal had no impact on grades and was merely a game. Based on the rules, the strongest might not even prevail.
After traversing the forest, he entered the courtyard. The sound of wooden swords clashing came from a certain direction. It appeared there were people who had already started much earlier.
I suppose I’ll spectate the match a bit, just as he was thinking along those lines……
A girl came running to him from afar.
“I’m Lima! Did you already forget!?”
“Ah, I see.”
She had short hair and was very energetic.
She was part of Sefi’s entourage————one of her friends who nagged about Kurou before.
“Have your wounds healed already?”
“That wound had already healed long ago.”
Lima’s shoulder was injured by a rifle during the first day of the elimination matches when the Sun Cultists invaded the school. After that, she likely stayed at the hospital.
“A gunshot wound healed that fast? I do not wish to battle against someone who is hurt.”
“I said it has already healed. See, right here!”
Lima removed her shirt and pulled on her blouse to reveal her shoulder. Although a small remnant of the bullet marking remained on her fair, white flesh, the wound indeed appeared to have completely healed already.
“What a feast for the eyes. Thank you very much for going through all that trouble just so I can have a look.”
“……Huh? Q-Quit scheming!”
Lima’s face turned red as she put her clothes back on. Although her breasts were completely exposed to him as a result, it seemed that she was unaware that things would end up like that.
“Well, it’s great that the wound has healed. As to be expected of a Swordie.”
A Swordie’s recovery abilities far surpassed that of a human’s. It was the same for Lima who was wounded by a powerful .30 caliber rifle. Her injury had essentially vanished after two weeks. It was said that it was the same during the Great War when the Swordies were attacked. As long as a Swordie survived, they could instantly return to the front lines. For the humans, that would probably be intolerable.
“W-Whatever, I’m fine. Hurry up and let’s go.”
“You’re so impatient. You seem to really want to get it on with me.”
Lima centered her wooden sword while Kurou displayed the same stance.
“And besides, I still owe you a favor. So of course I have to do something about it.”
Indeed, Kurou was the one who repelled the people that assaulted Lima. However, for her favor, it was to knockout Kurou rather than just expressing gratitude. To humans, this was absolutely baffling.
“By the way, have you heard about Neena?”
“I heard. There’s a lot of things I wish I could say to her.”
Kurou was certain that would be the case. Neena was Sefi’s friend and Lima’s friend as well. However, she was a Blaze who used a fraudulent personal record to infiltrate the academy. Plus, her goal was to murder Sefi.
“Betrayal is betrayal, that I don’t care about. However, disappearing without leaving a word is impermissible. The least she could have done was mention something to us before taking off.”
Exactly, a Swordie’s reasoning was difficult to comprehend, but perhaps Lima was just an oddball.
“Those matters can be saved for later. For now, you’re the main focus.”
“What, you’re still going to be like that?”
There was no telling how many people he would have to battle in the end. Furthermore, just nonchalantly conversing would not suffice either.
As soon as Lima shouted, she stormed off in his direction.
While planting her foot heavily against the ground, her wooden sword slashed across at light speed. Her agility and the speed of her sword in that attack were hard to capture for the eyes of a human————however……
Kurou was not an ordinary human. He had received training from the Sword Saint and lived to tell the tale after crossing swords against the strongest of the Seven Swords.
Although Lima was also very talented, she was still just an immature first-year swordsman. Her powerful swing just whiffed by Kurou————
Lima uttered a quiet yelp. While Kurou was dodging, he swung his wooden sword across, hitting Lima on the side of her head.
For a human, it would not be surprising if they were to die from a strike like that. However, the wooden sword could not possibly deal a life threatening wound to the light powered body of a Swordie.
Lima eyed Kurou as she helplessly fell over. Despite it not becoming a life threatening wound, a powerful jolt to the head would render even a Swordie unable to stand back up.
Kurou stated as such towards the fallen Lima, who was faced up towards the sky. He used the point of his wooden sword to sever the tag on her chest.
Regardless, Lima will likely awaken soon and the staff will probably rush over to check in on her.
Kurou mulled over where to go, but just as he was heading back……
Surrounding Kurou was a couple————rather, dozens of other female students.
Each held up their wooden sword while emitting their killing intent towards Kurou.
“I must be quite well received around here.”
Kurou wryly smiled as he positioned his wooden sword.
They wanted to take out the strongest members first. Perhaps they were going to attack Kurou en masse.
Regardless, this would probably be challenging for him to escape from.
Well, it saved him the trouble of contemplating where to go next————while thinking as such, he revealed a slight smile.
Kurou sprinted into the school’s backyard and sat down with his back against the school walls.
The courtyard was adorned with a plain flower garden and a few trees. There was a sense of stillness since there also appeared to be a garbage dump here as well. The place was devoid of the aura of anyone else and seemed like a place where he could rest a bit.
His breathing was erratic and the shirt to his uniform felt heavy due to being soaked with sweat.
It had not even been one hour since the battle royal started.
However, he probably had already taken out thirty people.
Swordies despised a one versus many battle and a proper swordsman would practically never perform any surprise attacks or attacks from behind. Although it was a different matter when it came to war or his Sabers missions, such underhanded methods would not be used otherwise.
Truthfully speaking, Kurou had never encountered a time where he had been swarmed by a large group of people thanks to the Swordies’ idiotic habits.
However, because he had to go through thirty one versus one battles, his weariness would of course accumulate. If he were to stay in one place he would be facing one battle after another, hence it was necessary for him to be on the move.
Kurou, whose physical capabilities were twelve out of ten for a human, was still somewhat lacking in stamina after staying in the hospital for two weeks.
He retrieved the rice balls that Hinako made for him from his shirt pocket and wolfed them down. Who knows how many more times he would have to battle.
When contemplating over his level of exhaustion, it was probably best for him to bide his time.
There was another student running towards the backyard like Kurou did.
The person’s breathing was even more spastic than Kurou’s was. The person was indeed a boy.
“Tough work out there——“
Although Kurou calmly greeted him, the other guy gave no response. He was also a Swordie. Was that a look of disdain directed at Kurou? Or was he fatigued to the point where he was unable to spare a greeting?
Even if it was within the Sword Academy, there were still a couple male students. However, most of them did not rely on their swordsmanship ability, rather it was their exceptional family history that facilitated their enrollment to the school. This student was likely one of those types.
The guy jogged right past Kurou and disappeared as he headed towards the opposite side of the building. He must have wanted to rest a bit for him to swing by here.
Perhaps he got into some trouble as well? Kurou wryly smiled at the thought.
A sudden cry was heard. The boy from not too long ago tumbled across the ground. He was completely knocked into a daze and the tag on his chest was already in tatters.
Kurou directed his gaze upwards from the boy and prepared his stance.
This time it was a girl that slowly came into view.
Kurou tilted his head slightly.
The girl that appeared was wearing the same uniform and holding the same wooden sword as the other contestants, but why was she wearing a mask around her eyes? It honestly seemed quite suspicious.
“……What’s with the mask? Did the theme change?”
The girl remained silent towards Kurou’s joke.
The masked girl approached Kurou————and then instantly closed the distance as she swung her sword.
That precise strike was barely avoided by Kurou when he saw the sword’s tip.
The masked girl pressed on, unleashing attacks one after another. Each strike was carefully and exquisitely measured. Although he dodged them, the power exuded in those attacks numbed his skin.
However, Kurou saw through the whole thing while most humans would most certainly be unable to even capture the afterimage of the attack.
As for the masked girl, she was not surprised by the fact that a human evaded her strike. She swiftly charged forth and put everything she had into aiming for a fatal thrust.
Suddenly, Kurou stopped in his tracks. He was unwittingly close to the flower garden. By the garden was a fence————in which his foot bumped into the short twenty centimeter fence.
That particularly sharp blow brushed the side of Kurou’s face.
Even though he suddenly halted his footsteps, Kurou leaned back as he once again barely dodged the attack.
“That’s quite dangerous.”
Kurou left the flower garden while maintaining his distance from the masked girl.
He felt a faint sense of heat on his face. After rubbing his hand against it, he noticed there was bright red blood.
Despite intending to avoid the strike, the wooden sword appeared to have slightly grazed him.
“Having been grazed along the face, my girl will surely cry.”
The masked girl once again went without any reactions towards Kurou’s joke.
“Ignoring me? Well, whatever, I did do something a bit cruddy to you as well.”
Although the masked girl revealed her suspicions based on the movements of her lips, Kurou offered no reply.
Kurou did not respond. Instead, he closed the distance between them.
The masked girl was flustered only for a moment as she reset her stance.
Kurou continued to push on brazenly————
At the moment when Kurou rushed by the masked girl’s body, his sword flashed by, sending the girl down on her knees.
“What just happened……?”
“Ah, so you finally decide to talk.”
Kurou excitedly spoke as the mask gently peeled off and fell to the ground. It must have fallen due to Kurou striking her head region.
“What a beauty. It’s a shame you had to wear a mask.”
Kurou surveyed her while speaking. However, he had not seen her before.
Her face revealed her complete astonishment. Did she really think that Kurou was not planning on doing anything as he charged past her?
“How could I lose to the sword of a human……”
“Have you been listening to what I’m saying? My sword is a tad out of the ordinary.”
Regardless if it was a Swordie or a human, it was possible to predict the path and speed of an opponent’s sword based on their hand movements. Especially for Swordies, a human’s sword could have its start to finish, the strength of swing and such determined in an instant.
Nevertheless, Kurou’s sword was different.
His sword was able to depict a different path and speed from his opponent’s predictions. For those who cross swords with Kurou, their timing would be disrupted by his unpredictable sword, resulting in a loss to a simple attack.
“At least, this isn’t just the sword of any ordinary human. Even if you lose it’s nothing to be surprised about.”
“……What was the bad thing that you mentioned before?”
“It’s just that I slightly underestimated you. To have my foot get caught in the fencing, that was too careless even for me. There’s no way I would have room for such carelessness for an opponent as strong as you.”
Indeed, the masked girl could not even be compared to the thirty students he eliminated earlier today. She was not an opponent where he could just ready his stance for an instant win against.
“Really……well whatever, it was at least a unique experience for me.”
After the girl that had lost her mask unsteadily stood back up, she removed the tag on her chest and tore it apart. It seemed to be a forfeiting indication.
Once she threw away her tag, she simply left.
“……What the, she is……”
“A second year student.”
Kurou turned around. In that direction————it was Sefi.
While holding the wooden sword in her right hand, she slowly approached Kurou.
“Were you not paying attention? The color of her tie was green.”
“Haha, I didn’t notice……my only impression was that her breasts were huge.”
“That’s not anything attention worthy!”
“No problem, Sefi’s are still larger compared to hers.”
“Keep that to yourself!”
Sefi replied in a growling manner. Just like always, she could never take a joke.
“By the way, why are there second year students? Only first-years can participate in this battle royal right?”
“I get the feeling that there’s quite a few upperclassmen participating, not just second-years. I’ve also seen third-year students and took out three of them.
The battle royal was an entertainment activity. It was not meant to be used for ranking the first-year students. Although, it would not be out of the ordinary to see surprise activities planned for the upperclassmen. That second year student must have worn that ridiculous mask while participating in the activity since she thought it would be funny.
“However, Kurou beating that girl was much more impressive. The abilities of these participants range all over the place.”
“If there are many more individuals of the same caliber as the one I faced, then all the first-years probably have no chance of winning.”
Or perhaps the upperclassmen would conveniently pull out after battling a couple rounds. In the end, the battle royal was an activity conducted for first-year students.
“Regardless, the number of people has dropped drastically. How many did you take out Rou?”
“In a certain sense, I’m really quite popular around here.”
Based on Sefi’s inquiry, she must have also eliminated a lot of people.
The end of the battle royal appeared to be surprisingly fast approaching.
“Speaking of which, Sefi……”
“Why is your face all red?”
Kurou noticed it from the start. The moment Sefi appeared, even her ears were flushed red and her eyes were a tad moist.
“T-That’s because it feels quite hot from battling so many times!”
“But it seems there’s not a drop of sweat on you……”
“Shut up! Enough, let’s just start already!”
Sefi shouted as she displayed a stance with her wooden sword held up.
Although she was an impatient person, Kurou pretty much understood why Sefi’s face was thoroughly red.
Swordies and humans were largely similar, except when it came to physical capabilities and a a few other aspects.
One of which was————the Swordies were a sword loving race.
The desire for a strong swordsman was a Swordie instinct. Being drawn in by a strong individual, they were basically captivated. For Swordie girls going through puberty, this was especially true. It was said that they were particularly prone to being captivated.
Sefi fit the criteria perfectly.
She must have witnessed the battle between Kurou and the mask wearing second year student and got hooked on Kurou’s swordsmanship. There was an instance of that before.
However, was this “love” real, or was it a temporary infatuation? Kurou probably feared it was the latter.
Sefi rapidly charged in and swung her sword down.
With that wind ruffling clash, the wooden sword sent a ferocious gale that passed by Kurou’s sides.
Brushing past his skin, Kurou sensed the pressure of an even stronger sword compared to that second year student.
Sefi’s sword was not reliant on tricks, rather she was someone who would unleash everything in one strike. Forget humans, even some Swordies were probably unable to contain Sefi’s all-out attack.
The Starbreaker————Sefi possessed the brawns to be able to effortlessly swing around that sword which resembled a chunk of steel. Although it was a wooden sword, wielding it at full strength would probably shred a person’s body apart.
“Not good, so dangerous, oh so dangerous.”
Kurou instantly separated from Sefi as he spoke in jest.
However, Sefi offered no response towards Kurou’s joke. This time she slashed horizontally, but Kurou simply just slightly stepped back to avoid that air splicing sword.
During that evasion, Kurou was sure of it.
It was back when he returned from the hospital and saw Sefi swinging her Sword.
After the portal opened while battling against Manaka, a type of change occurred within Sefi.
Kurou was able to make sense of these two moments.
Following that————Sefi’s third strike once again aimed at the upper body.
Kurou prepared his stance. He used his own wooden sword to repel Sefi’s crushing attack and sidestepped from the path of her sword.
Despite her body on the brink of collapse, Sefi was still able to withdraw the wooden sword and reset her stance.
“My sword……was blocked?”
Sefi’s face clearly surfaced an expression of shock.
She was very familiar with Kurou’s sword, the so-called Olden Style. Precisely because of this, she felt astonished.
Kurou’s father was a Swordie researcher. He investigated the Swordies who appeared on earth one after another through tiny portals since ancient times as well as the samurai who fought against them. He secretly composed his findings.
The findings were not for the sake of defeating the Swordies, rather it was simply a scientific interest.
Although Kurou was just a child when his father lost his life, the result of his findings were passed down through him.
After his dad died, the Sword Saint, who took in Kurou as her disciple, used the result of his dad’s research to teach him the technique to battle against the Swordies————the Olden Style.
The foundation of the Olden Style started with evading the sword of a Swordie which could even sever steel.
For humans whose vision capturing and reaction speed cannot overcome a Swordie’s swing of the sword, they were forced to read the path of the sword in order to dodge. It was essential that they mastered this future prediction-esque skill.
Ever since he was young, Kurou was constantly faced with the attacks of the Sword Saint’s sword. With that, he was now able to forego sword to sword combat and just use his body to dodge normal swordsmen using his sword prediction.
“You’ve become strong Sefi. If I were to carelessly evade, there’d be no way I could completely dodge your sword.”
Against truly powerful opponents, Kurou had the option of dodging the enemy’s sword. If he was unable to, he would use his sword to repel his opponent’s sword and then dodge. Of course, if he contacts a Swordie’s sword, Kurou’s arm would probably break along with his sword. For him, it was not about having a greater sword momentum in comparison to his opponent, rather it was utilizing his opponent’s force against them to parry their sword.
If Kurou’s sword clashed against the sword of his opponent, it meant that his opponent could not be dealt with through his usual means.
“Maturing within such a short time frame……If only your body development could quickly reach maturity, that’d make me even more excited.”
“Quit adding in all this nonsense!”
“Of course, I feel that Sefi’s breasts are quite adequate as it is.”
“Just shut up! Enough of this breast talk!”
Sefi yelled as such.
“Tch, I’m clearly praising you. Well, there’s no way I’d be mistaken about your strength increase.”
“……I saw your two battles against Neena, and the battle between you and Manaka. During Rou’s stay at the hospital, I continuously contemplated over what methods would defeat you.”
“Normally speaking, one does not become stronger just by spectating. It’s probably just your raw talent. Furthermore……have you noticed it yourself?”
In the midst of the battle against Manaka, a portal opened————after that, Sefi’s light received an explosive increase. Although she did not instantly notice the impact, the change was already as clear as day. It would be strange if she had not realized that was the case during Kurou’s stay at the hospital.
The greater the amount of light within a Swordie, the greater their strength and speed will be. Sefi’s physical capabilities are likely to be sharply different from before.
“Light, it is something that increases with a long duration of training. So how come it changed so suddenly, do you know?”
“No……I don’t understand. Although, something certainly did take place back then.”
As expected, Sefi also seemed to have detected some connection between her and the portal.
However, she appeared to be in the same boat as Kurou in not knowing its cause. It was just like Sylphy stated before, the portals were teeming with mysteries.
“Well, what we don’t know doesn’t really matter. Right now the most pressing matter is……my battle against you.”
“It always turns out like this.”
As Kurou wryly smiled, Sefi once again swung her sword.
So forceful, yet its speed surpassed what the eyes could capture. After using the Olden Style to parry her sword, he backed off.
She truly became stronger————
If Kurou were to make one mistake, his body would be shattered by her wooden sword in the exchange. He chuckled as he realized that the opponent he had been fighting against since they were both just children had been slowly catching up to him. He was overjoyed about it.
Once the exceptionally powerful sword was deflected, Sefi stopped in her tracks.
“It seems that Kurou is quite strong as usual……tch.”
“Don’t click your tongue! Well, there are still inadequacies to you.”
“It’s simple really, it’s your lack of real battle experience.”
Sefi never had a designated teacher.
Within her residence of the four generals, there came and went many powerful and talented swordsmen. It would appear that battling against them was Sefi’s daily routine.
However, in the end it was just practice. The swordsmen who faced Sefi, the four generals’ daughter, would probably never display their true abilities.
“Sefi has never experienced a fight where lives were at stake. Do you think that the attack from Neena counts? Of course not. One can’t get stronger if they don’t know the value of life.”
“Then……what about you?”
“I used to train with my master in the mountains. It wasn’t just living the mountain lifestyle either. Since the amount of guests was more than expected, there were many idiots who wanted to challenge my master to determine a victor.”
If they wanted to fight against the Sword Saint, they first had to overcome her disciple————who knows how many times that occurred. Needless to say, those were all genuine sword battles where both lives were on the line. The Sword Saint would watch the opponent who came to battle and would only send the ones that her disciple had a chance to defeat for him to fight against. From that, there were practically no opportunities for the Sword Saint to be matched against an opponent.
“Swordies, humans, both are only able to become stronger through life and death battles.”
“I see…….I haven’t killed anyone before.”
In other words, if Sefi were to accumulate experience in battling to kill, she would certainly become stronger. For Swordies, as long as it was swordsman versus swordsman, taking away one’s life was not taboo.
“I’m grateful that you have explained these things to me. That said, there’s something I’ve wanted to ask you. May I?”
“I can very clearly discern that you are powerful. Indeed, I seem to have become stronger. However, that second year student just now was also a difficult opponent. Even so, it’s hard to believe that Kurou would take a wound to the face from her sword. Furthermore, I get the feeling your movements have become a tad sluggish.”
He never imagined that it would be noticed. Kurou was stunned.
After leaving the hospital, he noticed it as well while he was swinging a sword. He felt that his sword techniques lagged in both speed and force. In addition, his agility was not the same as before. Except, even if he was sluggish, it was only to a tiny extent. To be able to see through that bit was truly quite exceptional.
“Is it because of your injuries? Even though Manaka was a traitor, her abilities earned her the title of one of the Seven Swords. For a human to be slashed by Manaka like that and only spend two weeks recovering is quite unthinkable.”
“Sefi, there’s two things wrong with your statement.”
Kurou cut Sefi short and proceeded to speak in a elucidating manner.
“First, my wound is really already healed. If the wound was vulnerable to tearing, then I wouldn’t have been allowed to leave the hospital.”
“I suppose so…….”
“And I have already explained to you about the light body right?”
Humans did not possess the powerful source of physical power known as light, that was common sense.
However, when facing the powerful light of the Seven Swords, humans would probably crumble and their bodies would incessantly shake. Hence, humans also recognized the presence of light.
If humans could retain light, then they should be able to unleash it————only Hyouka would deliberate over something as silly as that.
“My master possessed light power that went beyond Manaka, to heights unimaginable. Furthermore, she was able to expertly control her light. She must have detected that there was a miniscule amount of light within humans as well. Anyhow, I also realized the light within me was enough to be used. That’s great and all, but humans seem to be unable to bear light energy.”
Kurou was unable to control the light and that was why the light poured over his entire body.
However, the light wrapped around his entire body, resulting in his body being reinforced. Despite it not being on the same level as a Swordie, it allowed him to surpass his strength and speed for battle. This was known as the light body.
“While the light body is activated, all wounds will quickly heal. Thanks to this, the shoulder wound had healed long ago. However, there was a side effect on my body————basically, my body movement was temporarily disabled afterwards.”
“I see……but, are you sure you’re fine!? If that’s the case, isn’t that an unanticipated weakness of yours!? Are you ok with telling me something like that!?”
“Indeed……if I’m attacked by Sefi after I’m weakened through the use of the light body, my purity will be instantly taken by you.”
“Why would I do that!?”
It was hard to say but he would probably still wish for it to be taken away anyways. However, Sefi, who was prone to embarrassment, probably would not grant his wish.
“All in all, I understand, you’re not in your best condition. For you to say that I’ve gotten stronger under these circumstances————“
“That would be your second mistake.”
Kurou extended out his pointer finger and middle finger as he spoke.
“Right now because of the influence of the light body, my movements have become sluggish. That’s true and all but……I’m clearly able to battle and still had the free time to come to the battlefield.”
While wryly smiling, Kurou repositioned his wooden sword.
Battling when one has a winning chance——that would be the norm during combat. He had battled against Manaka of the Seven Swords before, but that extremely reckless situation was an exception.
Kurou believed that every battle was a winnable battle.
That was also a notion his master, Sword Saint Hyouka, instilled in him.
“Ah……haha, I see, I see. Looks like I’m clearly wrong.”
Sefi’s face was flushed red as she incessantly nodded her head. Although Kurou originally wanted to instill a slight amount of killing intent to his smile, in terms of the forcefulness of adding such a meaning, Kurou was no match for Sefi.
“T-Then I guess I won’t be holding anything back. Fufufu!”
Sefi unleashed an odd laughter as she once resumed swinging her sword. Compared to before, this was a more extreme and intense attack.
From the looks of it, Sefi was probably more excited than afraid towards Kurou’s intimidating smile.
Jeez, Swordies are so hard to understand. Kurou dodged and parried Sefi’s ferocious jabs while in astonishment. He maintained his distance while backing off at the same time.
The two of them were engaged in battle, traversing across the backyard as they made their way to the parking lot. For a school, the large parking lot was rather large and could probably hold up to fifty vehicles. Their numbers were sparse, perhaps due to everyone wanting to avoid any damages today.
“What are you doing Kurou! If you don’t counterattack, even a person like you will lose! Alright, hurry and give me everything you got! Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!”
It appeared that Sefi’s excitement levels had substantially increased.
The sword-loving race, with such an instinct unleashed, her character would certainly somewhat change.
It was not as if Kurou could not counterattack. However, his curiosity was piqued upon seeing the state of Sefi’s sword.
Sefi truly became stronger and was able to control that rapid upgrade in strength and speed quite exceptionally. Her swordsmanship also improved and any negligence on his part would likely lead to him being eliminated in one hit.
Sefi’s acute swordsmanship could be felt within each of her strikes. From the start, Sefi was always very talented. Precisely because she had not matured yet, she still had great potential for development. To be able to witness the maturity of a swordsman, it was quite valuable for Kurou.
“By the way Sefi.”
“What is it!?”
Sefi kept moving her hands, continuing her frenzied attack as she spoke.
“When facing such a chaotic attack, I’m not going to have the leisure to kiss you right?”
“I’ll be sure such a leisure gets smashed into pieces!”
Because of Kurou’s frivolous speech, Sefi’s swordsmanship was thrown slightly off.
In the past, Sefi had attacked Kurou because she became aroused from Kurou’s sword. Furthermore, she used a real sword that time. In order to not hurt Sefi and have her stop————Kurou kissed her, with such an attack making her return to her senses.
“I had clearly intended to forget about that matter……don’t bring up the past!”
Kurou calmly evaded Sefi’s crazed swinging of the sword.
From the looks of it, Sefi was wavering excessively. The majority of her sword maneuvers were completely lacking in order.
It is about time that I put an end to this————after Kurou parried Sefi’s wooden sword, Sefi jumped backwards. With Sefi’s stance being compromised, one strike should be able to take her out right now.
Sefi was forced to prepare her wooden sword, but it was already too late. Just as Kurou was setting himself up to charge in————
Kurou was absolutely baffled.
“What was that just now……!”
Sefi’s eyes were also opened wide in surprise as she planned on swinging her sword downwards.
Kurou raised his brows, staring at his own wooden sword. The front part of his sword had already been fractured.
Actually, Kurou had a general idea that something did happen. However, he did not know why such an event occurred.
Sefi was compelled to swing her sword downwards, but there was quite a stark difference in the timing of it. Although Kurou was able to brace the hit, grazing him or his sword should not have even been possible.
For a split second, he saw a black object suspended mid-air. It appeared to be a tiny————portal-like split that came only from the blade of Sefi’s wooden sword as it severed Kurou’s wooden sword.
In fact, that was all Kurou was able to discern. However————
“What’s going on……!”
Kurou swung his fractured tip sword horizontally while in a perplexed state.
An expression of bewilderment once again surfaced on Sefi’s face————it appeared to be overly mundane in terms of the speed and path of the sword. In general, it was a very basic style of swordsmanship.
Nevertheless, in the very next moment that Kurou swung his blade in front of her, the tag hanging on Sefi’s chest ripped into tatters.
Sefi uttered lightly and seemingly confirmed to herself that the tag was destroyed by placing her hand on her chest.
The result of the battle was————Kurou being the victor.
“What was that just now……”
“A neat little trick of the Olden Style called the Waning Crescent————in other words, it was faking a basic attack on the first offensive when the real attack was going to come in during the second offensive.”
“……Then, isn’t that just a feign?”
“Don’t call it that.”
Kurou chuckled a bit.
Such a technique would only be effective against those who were familiar with Kurou’s unpredictable attacks. Precisely because he displayed a human-like strike, Sefi was stupefied and caught off guard. During that, he would then revert back to his usual aggression————that was all there was to it. It would never work a second time so it really was just a little trick.
“Guh……I lost, you won’t be hearing any excuses from me.”
It appeared that Sefi returned to her usual self. Despite her having calmed down, it probably happened because of her losing from being struck down by such a stodgy technique.
Kurou had also taken somewhat of a blow. Just what was that inconceivable strike from Sefi……?
“What do you mean ‘however’? That should be my line. As expected, I probably wasn’t under my usual state of mind. Even so, your sword was severed by me.”
“……Well, I suppose it doesn’t matter since I won.”
It seemed that Sefi still had not noticed what was behind that mystical strike. It was obviously an abnormality, but perhaps it was due to her excitement.
“You’re right, there’s no excuses as the loser of the battle. Here you go Rou.”
After Kurou received the wooden sword, Sefi approached Kurou. She extended out her hand and lightly caressed the wound on Kurou’s cheeks.
“Due to your flurried movements, that wound opened up again.”
“It’s not too bad. Don’t be crying now Sefi.”
“Your girl, so that was referring to me wasn’t it!?”
Based on that, it seemed Sefi had definitely overheard the conversation between the second year student and Kurou.
“……Idiot, it’s probably not even possible.”
“Of course. It’s obvious……I can’t even reach the soles of your feet. Alright, please wipe the blood off with this.”
Once Sefi handed her handkerchief over, she swiftly left by herself.
“……Well, I see, based on Sefi’s personality……”
Since she always loses to Kurou, she was probably reluctant to just leisurely get along with him.
Nevertheless, there was no way Sefi did not reach the soles of Kurou’s feet in terms of strength. It would not be too far-fetched to say that she had nearly caught up to Kurou.
There was a discernible increase in power and that oddity from her sword, yet Sefi had a great amount of room to mature more. Certainly she will become very powerful.
“Ah——, hahaha, very amusing.”
Kurou suddenly turned around.
There was a large four-wheeled vehicle and————sitting on the hood of the car was a girl clapping her hands.
She possessed light green hair and the slender figure of a model. To add to that, she wore the tie of a third year student.
That would be the student council president of the Sword Academy, Isyuto.
Following the more formal introduction from Isyuto, she slid down from the front hood of the car. Her dress fluttered gently in the breeze.
Isyuto’s right hand was grasping a wooden sword and a tag with the number “0” written on it was attached to her chest.
“……So you’re participating too.”
“That’s because the interaction between the third-years and the first-years is practically nonexistent. Furthermore, there’s a lot of interesting kids within this year’s crop of first-years. I would like to see them for myself.”
Although she had a reason, to see the student council president participating in a fun activity designed for first year students was quite unexpected. However, Kurou was not in the least bit surprised. No matter what were to occur, he would not waver. That advantage comes from a person’s accumulated practical experience.
“May I ask a question?”
Kurou calmly raised his hand.
“Sure, go ahead.”
“As the student council president, are you the strongest out of the entire academy?”
“There’s no such mandate for that. However, I am accustomed to the chief duties of the third-year student council president position.”
It was an obvious answer. No matter what, this was the Sword Academy. To only be exceptional academically was not enough to reach the top.
“Ha……to be suddenly facing the most powerful from the academy!?”
“What is it kid? You wouldn’t happen to be scared are you?”
“What do you mean by ‘kid’……”
The student council president should only be older than Kurou by two years. Perhaps Isyuto was the type who liked to portray herself as an older sister.
“Really, this needs to be more……well, following the battle of the four great heavenly kings against the ferocious second-years and third-years, only then will I feel a sense of greatness.”
“Are you sure you’re not confusing this with a game?”
Isyuto shrugged her shoulders with a helpless expression.
“However, it’s not a guarantee that I’m the strongest. Setting aside the third-years, even among the second-years there are some very capable individuals.”
“If they were all to enter, then the battle royal may as well be over.”
“The volunteer participants aren’t necessarily among the strongest of their respective grades. That said, I used my authority as the student council president to decline the entry of many misbehaving kids who wished to enter.”
“Yeah, there are kids who don’t understand the severity of the situation. Sometimes it has forced me to act as the manager and lock up some students who are restricted from entering in a timeout room.”
The student council president would stop at nothing to have it her way, leaving Kurou a bit exasperated.
The so-called timeout room was not exactly peaceful either. He should be a bit more careful to avoid being placed there.
“If those tough kids all frenzied around here, the first-years would probably be defeated rather quickly. However, it seems that the only ones left are you and me. You and Sefi are ridiculously strong. Well, then again I’m just having a bit of fun myself.”
Although Sefi had also taken out a large number of people, to think there would only be two people left. Her mentioning of “a bit” was probably just a modest gesture.
In other words, as long as Kurou was able to take out the student council president, he would end up as the victor.
“Well then, hurry up and show me what you got kid!”
Suddenly, Isyuto sped off to close the distance between her and Kurou. Despite already being vigilant, he somehow let the enemy close in————Kurou was shaken as he used his wooden sword to deflect Isyuto’s downward strike. He did not even contemplate evading as he was only able to muster up a deflection.
“I wouldn’t have expected any less from you!”
As Isyuto shouted out, she continued her onslaught of the sword. A second and third strike came————her vicious attack was neverending. Her foot movements were all very sharp as she paced around forcefully on the surface.
It contrasted to Sefi’s all-out attacks. In comparison to Manaka, her sword movements lagged behind greatly. Her swordsmanship also differed from the Sword Saint’s flawlessness.
Even so, the force, speed, and swordsmanship behind Isyuto attacks————each aspect maintained such a balance.
The student council president Isyuto————gave the impression that she was no longer just a student, but rather an already matured swordsman.
The strike that Kurou dodged knocked aside a car in the parking lot. The wooden swords were prone to breaking, yet a car was sent flying into the air, creating a massive cave-in within the car body. A thumping sound could be heard as the car landed back on the ground.
“……The light blade?”
Kurou quietly mentioned.
The sword raised up by Isyuto was shrouded in a faint white light.
Even among Swordies, only an exceptional Swordie individual could utilize their light so that it transfers to their blade. It was a technique that would increase the endurance and sharpness of their sword. However, this time it was with a wooden blade, so it being sharpened was probably not an issue.
“If I’m not allowed to go to this extent, then it seems I can’t win versus you.”
Isyuto revealed a brief smile as she pointed the tip of her sword of white light towards Kurou.
“Even though I’ve heard about you, it’s still hard to believe. Clearly a human is unable to evade or parry away a Swordie’s sword————a Sword Princess’s sword at that.”
“Sure seems possible.”
Kurou smiled in response.
“Well, originally I thought that was the case——you are the sole Sword Princess of the academy.”
“Haha, you knew? Indeed, I do have the Sword Princess status for now. However, I wish to have this status removed after seeing how easily my sword was defended by you.”
“It’s not that easy. Well, it’s always like walking on thin ice.”
Isyuto’s sword was very powerful. However, she could never compare to the Sword Saint. To Kurou, who had been continuously practicing with the strongest swordsman as his opponent, Isyuto’s attacks were nothing to extent of unbearable.
“Based on what I’ve seen, your blocking or evasion all came before I even moved. It’s not even seeing through my swordsmanship, but rather something that occurs much earlier than that.”
“……That would be correct.”
Truthfully, he did not really intend on hiding it.
“For Swordies, they put everything into their sword with their swift and powerful swings. Despite it being their strength————it’s also a curse for them.”
“Starting from right before the swinging motion, a Swordie’s sword already begins its takeoff. That’s what I look for since you guys are unable to stop the attack in which you put your soul into at that point. As long as I recognize this point, I’ll be able to dodge the strike afterwards.”
In truth, it was not as simple as that.
If he was unable to completely evade it, the only other option would most likely be death.
Even when it came to parrying, if he was not able to hit the opponent’s sword at the precise time and angle, it may result in a broken sword or perhaps his demise.
During battles against Swordies, every strike was truly a perilous walk on thin ice.
“A curse eh? I see, indeed it is like that. Our born to kill instinct————the will to kill might even be too effective. What is akin to a life revolved around slaying others, absolutely nothing can be done about that disposition. “
“Finding a winning opportunity would be my ability————the Olden Style.”
There was also another aspect.
His own sword maneuvers are done with the complete elimination of killing intent.
By depicting an exquisite path and speed of the sword, it was not just his unpredictability. By the time the opponent noticed, that sword driven by an unpredictable swordsmanship would already be coming their way. The combination of these techniques resulted in a sword that not even a Swordie could defend against.
Completely seeing through the opponent’s attack and preventing his own attack from being read, that was the swordsmanship of the Olden Style. Despite the simplicity, that future sight sort of perception and the acute sword maneuvers were necessary. For the sake of humans opposing Swordies, the creation of such an art exists.
Suddenly, Kurou raised his sword towards the middle in his usual stance.
No matter how much rigorous training his techniques go through, a human’s physical capabilities can never match up to that of a Swordie’s. If Kurou wished to attain victory, getting a quick decisive victory was of the utmost importance.
“I apologize Miss Student Council President, but it looks like you have lost.”
That declaration of victory was copied from his master.
Isyuto also displayed the same middle stance as Kurou except her sword tip was slightly pointed forward and her body also leaned a tad forward. However, Kurou did not mind such matters.
Kurou maintained his stance and slowly closed the distance————
He put pressure on his lower abdomen as he swung the sword of the Olden Style downwards.
Isyuto’s face revealed an astonished expression. That static expression was commonly seen by Kurou as the response from Swordies who had witnessed his sword.
The attack aimed at Isyuto’s head instead grazed a sliver of her light green hair, resulting in only a few strands of hair being sent flying in the air.
And it did not stop there.
Isyuto’s menacing, lightning fast stab suddenly came forth, striking Kurou right in the middle of his chest. He heard the thump against his chest from that hit.
Kurou was sent flying a few meters backwards and viciously crashed into a parked car.
Kurou kneeled down on the floor while covering the spot where had been hit on the chest with his hand. To have all that happen and still been able to single-handedly hold on to his sword showed his capabilities as a swordsman.
The surrounding scenery was perpetually blurring. Despite being able to see up close and far away, his vision was turbulently shaking.
It was a wooden sword, but when being dealt an attack from a Swordie, it was already a miracle that he did not faint.
“How about that……”
Isyuto was stroking her own hair as she stated.
“Although it’s just my hair, but it has truly been ages since I’ve been hit with a sword. You’re pretty good kid.”
“……I’m the one who was hit.”
Kurou pressed on his chest as he stood up. His knees were incessantly wavering. Despite just joking around, he no longer had the leisure to be saying such things.
“You may as well openly accept those words of praise. Well, even though you are young, I still like a bit of cockiness.”
Isyuto approached Kurou with impunity. Paying no mind as she grabbed Kurou’s left shoulder, she rolled up his shirt sleeve.
On his left hand was the white metal bracelet with the Sword Saint’s emblem carved in. Known as the successor’s marking, it was also proof that he was a candidate.
“You are pretty worthy of being the Sword Saint’s successor considering how you are still alive from that previous attack.”
“……Are you trying to kill me?”
Although it was a vague suspicion, it turned out to be true after all. Kurou felt quite frightened by this.
“With you as my opponent, if I don’t take it to that level then it wouldn’t really be a battle. Actually, that last jab was aimed at your tag, but because you twisted your body it missed. Consequently, you were blown far away. However, most of that was probably from you leaping back as well right?”
“Still, I thought there might have been a huge hole in my body.”
Precisely as Isyuto mentioned, it was to limit the extent of his injuries. If he did not do that, at the very least he would undoubtedly have ended up on a hospital bed.
“What did you do? How come I————couldn’t see it?”
Isyuto’s sudden stab that he was unable to evade lacked any resemblance from Manaka’s high-speed sword. Him not being able to avoid it was not because of her speed or heavy force, it was just————Kurou was unable to detect her killing intent.
“You spoke of a Swordie’s curse and when you add my own curse to that, perhaps it weakens me quite a bit.”
“What do you mean……”
While quivering from the pain of that sudden jab, he stared at Isyuto.
How was he suppressed to such an extent when the student council president was inferior to both the Sword Saint and Manaka? Kurou did not understand.
“However, you are much more interesting compared to me. From a spectator’s point of view, your sword clearly moves so slow that it makes one want to doze off, yet during the confrontation……it turns out quite different than one would expect. When the sword will be swung, what kind of swordsmanship, both of which are incomprehensible. You’re very unfathomable, truly so.”
Isyuto jovially stated as she grabbed Kurou’s lower jaw and lifted it up.
“I like you a lot, to the point where I would even eat you……”
“If it’s just to the extent of nibbling……I don’t have a problem with that!”
As he mentioned as such, Kurou’s hand that was pressed against his chest began to move.
Although he was not using a sword, he still utilized the movements of the Olden Style————not letting the opposition know where it was going.
This time his hand was heading for————
The smile on the student council president’s face vanished. Clearly an expression of distress and shock surfaced in its place. Plus, there was more to it.
“W-Where do you think you’re touching……!?”
Her face was flushed red. Kurou’s hand ripped apart the student council president’s tag and groped her breasts. Getting the victory while fulfilling his desires, this was totally abusing the Olden Style technique.
“And with that, I’m the victor……that said……”
“J-Just how long are you going to rub there……what is it!?”
Kurou disregarded her as he continued to feel up her chest.
“The student council president is very beautiful, however your chest region is quite barren.”
A smile once again surfaced on Isyuto’s embarrassed and reddened face.
The student council president revealed a gentle smile as she forcefully waved around her wooden sword.
“Eh? I’ve already won the battle royal————“
Isyuto turned a deaf ear towards Kurou while violently swinging down the sword.
With a sense of regret, Kurou moved his hand away from Isyuto’s chest, barely dodging the blade in the process.
Kurou very precisely predicted that last strike, but the killing intent imbued within the blade was quite frightening.
It seemed the lovely student council president was not the type who could be touched.
Kurou escaped like a fleeing rabbit as he recalled the feeling of those tiny breasts. In order to survive till the honoring ceremony, it appeared that Kurou must win in a second bout against the student council president————
“……What have they all been doing?”
A woman downed a can of beer in one go, wryly smiling as she spoke.
Her figure was sitting atop a cylindrical water tank on the roof of the Sword Academy’s secondary campus building. She sat there in fascination while being surrounded by a clutter of beer cans.
She had bought a six-pack, but after the battle royal there was only one can leftover.
“That little runt’s womanizing is quite sickening.”
The woman who was chugging down the beer was Manaka.
Even though she was a Swordie, she was also a swordsman who attained a Seven Sword title, the Sword General.
She was already twenty-four years old, yet she only resembled a teenager. Due to the influence of a Swordie’s light, they were able to delay their aging more than humans.
She possessed green eyes and that blue hair of hers rested on her shoulders. Her face was unblemished, her breasts were quite ample, and her arms and legs were long and slender. Regardless where she was, she would always stand out as a graceful beauty.
Despite being a member of the Blazes and forging a personal record to infiltrate Swordie society, she climbed all the way to a spot among the Seven Swords. As the former director of the Sabers, she also used to be Kurou’s superior.
She betrayed Swordie society, yet today she was properly wearing her Sabers uniform. That was because she really fancied the uniform that she ordered.
“In the end, Kurou-kun won eh? That was quite plain and boring.”
When Manaka heard about the battle royal being held, she came to spectate.
It was said that she was a monster whose high-speed movements could even cause afterimages to appear. Her visual acuity for capturing her prey during those high speeds was also quite superior. With her visual acuity, it was easy for her to see the students engaged in battle from the panoramic view atop the water tank on campus.
Even Kurou’s battle against Isyuto was entirely witnessed by her.
“Well, I guess that’s that then. Although, there’s still plenty of time to kill.”
Just as Manaka muttered to herself……
Suddenly, a blade brushed the side of her beer can, slicing it apart. As the liquid contents spilled out, Manaka jumped up into the air.
In front of Manaka, who was leisurely mumbling, the water tank also turned into pieces. The fragmented water tank spilled a large quantity of water, which flooded the entire rooftop instantly and poured down towards the schoolyard below.
On top of the already submerged rooftop, Manaka retrieved the sword by her waist.
The Dancer————crowned as her personalized sword, it was a single-edged longsword. The blade was very thin like paper.
“Haha, to have chopped up this massive water tank in one swing, looks like those sword maneuvers of yours are still as scary as usual.”
Manaka boldly smiled as she gazed towards the girl that appeared on the roof.
However, the other person was not looking at Manaka.
No————that was because she had her eyes tightly shut and was unable to see anything.
“Long time no see, Absolute Sword Syunaku.”
“Indeed, it’s been a while, former Sword General Manaka.”
Overall, Syunaku’s voice contained a hint of excitement.
She was one of the Seven Swords.
Currently there were many within the Seven Swords who were very young. Syunaku was nineteen years of age. She ascended to the throne three years ago when she was just sixteen.
Her light brown hair was tied in three due to its length.
She was wearing the official attire of the Seven Swords, which was similar to that of the Sword Princess. A black toned shirt with golden stripes paired with a similar black dress that was very short in length. She did not wear a mantle like the twin Sword Princesses.
Although she conveniently carried a small dagger by her waist, Manaka knew that was just a prop.
“As expected of you Manaka. I clearly thought that I would have you cut into circular pieces just like that water tank over there.”
“Who cares about that, slashing apart my beer can was a bit excessive. There was still beer left in that.”
“Pardon my bad manners.”
Syunaku quietly chuckled while gracefully displaying a gesture of courtesy.
She was raised by a prestigious family with a history of former Seven Swords and Sword Princesses. Although there were existences who were special cases in using the sword among Swordies, Syunaku’s family history of the sword was even more notable.
“Well then, I must apologize. Allow me to attach the label of being easily wiped out onto a traitor such as yourself.”
Syunaku swiftly crossed her hands in front of her chest.
She was wearing black colored leather gloves and even had metallic rings on each of her five fingers.
There were five threads that extended outwards. This object, known as the Wire Sword, slashed apart Manaka’s all important beer can and the water tank.
Syunaku’s wire sword could reach a couple meters out, slicing things apart like cutting tofu. Scary enough, the mysterious sword was also capable of long-range combat.
Manaka had witnessed the mysterious sword countless times and knew perfectly well of its frightening powers.
However——Manaka simply smiled.
“Hahaha, do you think the current me would care about disgrace and such? If things aren’t to my heart’s content, then I will become even more enraged. Speaking of which, as a Seven Sword, you still decided to be a security guard for the academy? How gloryless.”
“It’s because I want money.”
Syunaku did not mind as she replied.
She was one of the Seven Swords who——became a swordsman for the money. Disregarding the dangerous tasks, rumor has it that as long as she was reasonably compensated, she would even willingly take up the role of a bodyguard for a bar. Although Manaka was not quite convinced, it seemed to be the truth.
“I was entrusted by Sylphy-sama. It appeared that there were going to be some important individuals coming to the academy, plus this job was also well-suited for me.”
“Indeed, the other Seven Sword are quite fearsome. However, the only one who can cover a vast amount of territory is you.”
“Yup, even if it can’t be seen, I————can sense everything.”
Syunaku, the Absolute Sword, kept her eyes closed due to losing her sight.
However, she was capable of sensing the situation anywhere within a two kilometer scope. It was not her visual acuity, but rather she judged based on the sounds and air vibrations to completely grasp the movements of any person or being. In place of her lost vision, her other senses sharpened————and in addition, there was this unique skill that only she was capable of using. As for the specifics behind this, even Manaka was unsure.
“Furthermore, perhaps a swordsman of your stature might even be pursuing Sefi-sama and that girl from the Sun Cult. In that case, even if we assemble our people and gather the exceptionally talented Sword Princesses, it would only be at the expense of a slaughter. If it is me, there is a chance that the entire school’s security work and the task of facing a Seven Sword can be taken care of.”
“I see. Well, even I was surprised to see you waiting for me here.”
“I was quite astonished as well. Who would have thought that the person who went on a rampage here not too long ago would return without a second thought. To be drinking while spectating a student activity here much less.“
Manaka confirmed that Syunaku’s wire sword slightly moved a bit. Even though each strand was invisible to the naked eye, Manaka was able to capture them with her vision.
“The wounds my sister’s rascal disciples dealt to me have already healed. It’s been a while since I last went for a jog and I decided to conveniently stop by here along the way.”
“Of course of course, in other words you were ‘conveniently’ killed during a jog. How sad……ha!”
The moment Syunaku motioned her fingers, the wires covering the building suddenly all rose upwards.
The ten wires each resembled different living beings on the move. The wires more or less trapped Manaka in a cage-like manner————she was about to be sliced into ten pieces of flesh in one fell swoop.
Syunaku quietly murmured.
Right before the wire sword entangled her, Manaka leaped into the air and stood a couple meters beyond where the wire web was on the rooftop. What Syunaku cut was————although she was unable to see it————it was Manaka’s afterimage.
“You can scurry pretty far away in such a quick time frame. Jeez, always so eccentric.”
“I never planned on battling against you today. I apologize, but please allow me to leave ok?”
“How unfortunate. If I were to capture you, I’d get a special reward.”
“Even though I’ve asked you before, what do you even plan on doing with the money you make?”
“I’ve trained all my senses except vision, however my sense of taste has become unusually sensitive. Outside of highly priced dishes that require a lot of time, I probably wouldn’t accept anything else. That’s why I need to spend money.”
Manaka helplessly spoke. Although it was done half in jest, it sounded unnerving since it did not seem like a lie.
She displayed such calmness against the former Sword General, proving herself as a swordsman who ascended to the Seven Swords even without any vision.
“Even if you mentioned as such, can you really just return?”
“Yup, that is my intention.”
“You’re not————going to see that boy again?”
Syunaku was of course referring to Kurou.
“That kid who was the disciple of the Sword Saint seemed to have immediately detected my presence the moment he left the hospital. With that battle against the student council president, don’t you think he’s quite an interesting lad?”
“Him being interesting is not something I can deny.”
“That kid’s mysterious sword, even my wire sword should be able to defend against it. I would really like to request a match against him.”
“……Syunaku, let me just say this first. If you ever harm Kurou-kun…..I’ll murder you.”
As Manaka stated, she placed the Dancer back in the scabbard.
Without waiting for Syunaku’s reply, she jumped from the top of the building.
The school building had four stories. If one were to fall, even a Swordie would suffer some sort of wound. However, she went along the window frames, a small pipeline-esque stepping space, and shortly after reached the bottom.
She did not sense Syunaku’s wire sword pursue her. She probably never planned on really committing to a battle against Manaka. If it were a battle, it was uncertain as to who would win. At least to her, battling against Manaka for a reward was overly dangerous.
As Manaka sprinted through the academy, she contemplated over something.
When Syunaku mentioned Kurou’s name, she confirmed to herself————although it was for the briefest of moments, her heart did truly waver.
During the past two weeks, lives were wagered in battle and she was injured by the boy.
Manaka respected the disciple of her sister, Sword Saint Hyouka, from the bottom of her heart.
Furthermore————perhaps he was the one who slayed Hyouka.
However, that was not the case this time.
Manaka, who shouldered the burden of avenging her sister, clearly detested him.
Yet she noticed that her hate was also————a stubborn attachment to Kurou.
It was precisely as Syunaku stated. For Manaka to have returned to the place where she caused such a ruckus not too long ago was abnormal. In fact, it was something that she could not comprehend herself.
Just what will this attachment to Kurou have in store for her in the future?
The answer to that was nonexistent, located not even within her own heart.