[Translator – Niel]
[Proofreader – DVN-L]
It was an open space located in a remote part of the capital.
There wasn’t a single soul around, yet the sound of leaves rustling in the wind alone was enough to fill the place with deafening noise.
“It’s a nice place, isn’t it?”
Said Lilea as she led us into this place after we stopped by the guild and submitted our completion of the request.
Her hand was already resting on the sheath of her sword.
She smiled softly, her demeanor was composed.
So much so that she was now in her most natural state with no hint of unease at all.
Who would’ve thought that she and I would now clash with each other?
“This place, you see, it’s my own secret place. I don't really want people to see me training or anything.”
That's why she spent so much time looking for a place just like this, she added.
“Now that I remember it, you went to the infamous Minaura, didn’t you? How was it? How was the ‘Warrior Princess,’ Viera Islebark?”
The fact that you asked about Viera right here and now suggests that you really don’t want to hear anything about her personality.
What you want to hear about is her strength.
“I wonder about that too.”
“Oh, you didn’t meet her?”
“We talked. But the only people I fought with were her older sister, Fiole Islebark, and a swordsman named Siva.”
“Hmm~ I haven’t heard of a swordsman named Siva, but the ‘Corpse Princess,’ huh?”
As Siva also said, Fiole is known as the ‘Corpse Princess.’
To which that very name came out of Lilea’s mouth as if it were a matter of fact.
“Were you able to learn anything from that place?”
“Like realizing my own inexperience, or something?”
“I’ve already heard that before.”
What a blunt remark.
“Is that so?”
“Yeah. Every time you accomplish something, it’s you gaining the realization of how inexperienced you still are that I always hear.”
I couldn’t deny it because it was really the truth.
All I could do was cover it with a smile.
“…Well, whatever. I didn’t really expect you to be honest with me. I’ll just have to see for myself what you’re learned and how you’ve grown.”
And soon after those words, a clang immediately followed suit.
The sound was none other than the sound of a sheath falling to the ground.
I squinted my eyes.
A sword then rested in my right hand.
According to Sofia’s rules, we both can’t use magic in this duel.
However, since my weapon requires my own magic itself, this would be the only exception throughout our match.
In the presence of the alertness and pressure rising from her body, Lilea smiled ferociously, as if she had been waiting for it.
But despite her expression, the air that surrounded her was as cold as ice, making the heat of the moment dissipate in the air.
Such a premonition came to my mind that if I got even a little bit careless and charged at her head-on too soon, I’ll lose at that very moment.
“Now, then. Are you ready?”
She asked me courteously.
But what’s there to say to someone with such relentless murderous intent as her fighting spirit?
I just swallowed the words that came to mind and looked at Sofia with a glance, who was waiting a short distance away, and gave her a small nod.
“—Let’s begin, then.”
It was only for a brief moment, but I felt a chill down my spine.
Not long after, a bloodlust, befitting of a reaper, pierced through my entirety.
But without hesitation and care in the world, I forcefully stepped in, as it was the cue to start.
And as soon as I did, a gust of wind swept over me.
Lilea’s image, locked in my eyes, suddenly vanished.
All that remained was the tapping sound of her footsteps on the ground.
Her incoming attack could now come from anywhere.
My left, right, front, or even my behind.
—Sharpen your senses.
Where does the skin that I feel on my skin come from?
With only a tenth of a second to think, I concentrated on my ears and relied on my intuition.
The attack will probably come from— behind!!!
I swung as I turned around without hesitation and intercepted a deadly blade that was about to slice me open.
Neither of our swords was dazzled by the hard exchange of blows.
We exchanged blows two and three times more, causing sparks to fall down the earth.
Soon after, Lilea, seemingly accustomed to the blows, switched her sword to the opposite hand in less than a second and delivered a thrust that was worthy of a spearman.
It was released in a series of raging blows, pouring down like a torrent of rain.
Red lines appearing on my cheeks started to drip.
[Translator – Niel ]
[Proofreader – DVN-L ]
Join our discord for updates on releases! https://dsc.gg/reapercomics
I couldn’t stay defending myself at this pace.
Deciding so, I put all my strength into my right foot and started to retreat.
But doing so made Lilea’s cold lips turn into a grim grin.
But I, too, saw an opportunity and did the same thing.
My face also contorted with pleasure.
My sword was already up above, anticipating Lilea’s downward swing, who was trying to close in to prevent me from creating distance.
Disregarding the prospect of being blocked, she committed to swinging her sword in my direction.
Soon, a hard feeling struck my sword.
Our swords long collided against each other, and the vibration from the clash echoed throughout the place.
Neither of us wanted to be overpowered, however, the standstill didn’t last long.
I intercepted a blow from above with one hand, while I reversed my sword to a backhand grip to the other.
In other words,
—It was my one definite advantage against her. My ambidexterity.
Lilea sneered to me, telling me to pick up the pace, and then proceeded to flash her spirit by retaliating.
She gripped the hilt of her sword with such force so much so that it screeched, and came to me by launching her body forward in hopes of winning the exchange by force.
“—Not so fast, kid.”
A taunt shook my eardrums.
But it doesn’t matter, it’s a complete bluff, so don’t let it get to you.
I told myself as the resistance from the sword suddenly disappeared.
Her figure was still in front of me, and our swords were still locked together.
But before I pondered about the mystery behind what happened, I found out the answer myself.
—She would do a parry.
…No, but why?
My brain was flooded with questions as to why she would do so when I attacked her from below at the same time I intercepted her swing from above to keep her from doing the very thing she was about to do.
But as I was racking my head confused, Lilea was already successful parrying me.
My troubles and confusion were swept away just like she did with my offense.
But I decided at this moment that this was no time to fret.
“Come on—!!! Here I come!!!”
Lilea twisted her body like a spring.
And right after she parried my previous blow, she immediately swung her sword in a backhanded manner.
Lilea politely announcing her next move doesn’t make her a less scary opponent.
My whole body was still trying to reset after my whole strategy of attacking from a high point got parried, so my body was basically full of openings like I was purposely trying to get killed.
I have to dodge her incoming blow.
So dodge. Dodge it. Dodge it. Dodge it.
I told myself over and over again, and even forcefully, I was able to throw myself sideways to the ground.
And soon after, a blade with a silvery gleam passed right by, slashing the very spot I was frozen standing in earlier.
—What a close call…!!!
I look at Lilea with a sharp gasp.
With no time to spare, a silver trail was drawn in front of my eyes once again, and after a moment's delay, the sound of the wind cutting through the air reached me.
And this time, Lilea was the one attacking from above.
It was the exact opposite of what had just happened.
Exact same blow, behavior, hell, even the arrogance that I showed earlier.
If you can parry it just like I did, be my guest.
If you can imitate it just like I did, don’t hold back.
Her eyes, filled with a dull glow reminiscent of a monster's, belligerently shot at me.
Unleashing a powerful attack from above with all her might, she was looking to crush my skull.
In terms of pure swordsmanship alone, Lilea was indefinitely a few steps ahead of me.
So even if I tried to imitate one of the things she did earlier, she would probably have her own countermeasures in place.
I didn’t think I would be able to pull off the same trick as she did.
So instead of trying to parry it, I drove my sword towards the sky with all my might in hopes of blocking her incoming attack.
An enormous impact came soon after, and an ear-splitting metallic sound resonated throughout the place.
Amidst the battle noises, a burst of rather loud laughter rang out.
The impact caused both of us to fall back, slightly dragging our bodies along the way.
However, the distance that had already opened up was soon reduced to none as Lilea and I took a giant leap forward.
For what seemed to be the thousandth time, Lilea skillfully twisted and turned to avoid my attacks before she could even see them.
And before I even knew it, she began to counterattack.
“I got you now—!!!”
It was only what I could describe as a slash at the speed of light.
But no matter how long I waited, the sensation of getting slashed never came.
What scattered in front of my eyes wasn’t a crimson-colored liquid, but a red flash of sparks, all the result of the clashing of both our swords.
We wouldn’t be able to settle this at this pace.
And apparently, I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, with a mirror spawning in front of me as the two of us jumped back to retreat at the same time.
The next thing I realized was the wheezing sound escaping from my mouth.
“…This really won't end that easily, is it?”
I forced a smile.
With a bead of sweat on my forehead, I put together a string of words.
“Of course not. For how many years do you think I've been wielding a sword? …But, you’ve been really improving at an abnormal pace, if I say so myself.”
“…I can’t help but be jealous, but I’m just going to enjoy this to the fullest, thinking that I’ve found a good training partner.”
Saying so with an unladylike smile, Lilea then drew the other sword from her waist and proceeded to drop its sheath to the ground again.
—She’s a dual wielder.
The sword that Lilea wields has a shorter edge than my sword, and it was built for ease of use rather than length of reach.
One to the right and another one to the left.
Both her swords settled in her hands.
There wasn’t any room for her calm and composed demeanor like the one she wore earlier, but what I felt was an extreme sense of intimidation emanating from her body that was heightened by several more notches.
Although Lilea doesn't like to fight with both her swords, given how she gets intoxicated in many ways, the fact that she dared to do so suggested that she really didn't intend to go easy on her opponent.
“Given that I’m always obliged to hold back, I’m going to have twice as much fun as usual now— okay? …Fu— Fufufu… AHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!”
Loud laughter began to roar as she took strange steps from her right to left.
What she let out was what I can only define as a maniacal laugh.
Her throat trembled and her body shook with joy, her voice now reverberating in the atmosphere.
Eventually, the laughter died with a snap— and at the same time, clods of earth flew into the air from two different directions.
That was the cue to resume the fight.
A metallic sound echoed soon after.
And the sparks that once painted the empty sky began to scatter around the two fight maniacs once again.
Join our discord for updates on releases! https://dsc.gg/reapercomics