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That much of a difference? Shion wondered in a seemingly still calm part of her mind that had for the most part become delirious with bloodlust. My body feels strangely light, and I don’t sense the weight of my weapon either.
Shion, whose body normally wouldn’t be able follow her imagination to such a degree, demonstrated a battle that could be called the very best in her life so far. What reached her ears were the sounds of her sword cutting through the air, and that of building stones, which might have been part of the stone paving originally, being smashed up when they occasionally crossed her sword’s path.
As long as she hit them, she could definitely break them – be it stones or people.
However, her sword didn’t reach Renya at all. Until now Shion had never seen it for herself, only watching from behind or the sidelines. But, now that she was personally facing off against Renya, Shion literally experienced the height of Renya’s skills with her own body.
Her attacks didn’t connect. Even the idea that they might hit was out of reach for her. Even though Renya’s body should certainly be within her sword’s reach, around one sword length away in front of her, she was forced to understand, whether she wanted it or not, that it was already a hopeless distance, or rather, it allowed her to actually feel the distance in skill between them.
His taijutsu level was simply that high. It didn’t even seem as though her attacks were being evaded. Renya’s movements were always on point, as if he knew from the very start what attack she would unleash, when she would do so and what she would aim for.
The reality that she couldn’t make Renya adopt any defensive stance, not to mention force him to draw his katana, started to gnaw at the part in Shion that was overheating. As if to pour cold water on those feelings, a very small impact traveled through Shion’s left flank.
There was absolutely no pain. It wasn’t a heavy impact, it was more like being tapped. However, it still startled Shion that a kick unleashed by Renya after he took just one step into the area, where Shion was currently brandishing her sword with thunderous wind-cutting sounds, had hit her side.
“Your attacks are continuing to grow wild.”
Shion swung her sword, trying to close the gap that Renya had already reduced when he stepped in, but once again Renya dodged her by going just outside her attack range with the cuffs of his clothes fluttering in the wind.
Even while grinding her teeth in vexation over the fact that he had distanced himself to such an extent, Shion didn’t stop her hands. Probably fired up by her own irritation, Shion kept her attacks, which apparently had turned into large swings, as compact as possible, swiftly carried out counterattacks, and desperately maintained a combat distance that didn’t allow Renya to reach her with his bare arms while still keeping him in range of her sword. She was hot on Renya’s heels while putting strength into her limbs, trying to land at least one slash, or at least make Renya draw his katana.
On the other hand, Renya was astonished while nonchalantly dodging Shion’s attacks. Each time her sword swung past his eyes and ears, each swing caused his hair to sway due to the wind pressure. The attacks, which hit the ground, broke the paving and sent pebbles flying in all directions.
Whenever he tried to fall back or increase the combat distance between them, Shion resolutely and immediately closed as much of the distance as he had opened up by retreating. Moreover, the abnormal level of stamina, which she had already displayed during the training with Keith’s unit, allowed Shion to maintain her attack speed.
The sword in Shion’s hand was something he had expressly created for her training session with the katurul. For the sake of increasing her stamina, he had made it far heavier than any ordinary longsword, but Shion continued to wield it with ease.
It’s regrettable, but aren’t her motions getting larger with every single attack, probably due to her irritation about her attacks not landing?
However, once Renya closed the combat distance for an instant, delivered a light attack, and pointed that part out, she amended it at once. The part about her unleashing even faster attacks than before his advice caused Renya to admire Shion’s learning speed, maybe owed to her youth. But then again, there was almost no difference in physical age between Renya and Shion, even if the mental age was a completely different matter.
“Renya~, you need help over there?”
Having his attention distracted for an instant by the sudden voice reaching his ears, Renya evaded Shion’s attack while panicking in his mind, albeit outwardly appearing to be calm. He lightly hit the sword’s blade that had passed by him with his palm, hitting it in order to increase its swing force. As expected, it wasn’t something that would make Shion let go of her sword, but her posture got somewhat disturbed by the increased momentum of the sword.
While using that opportunity to widen the distance to Shion, he sent a fleeting glance in the direction of the voice’s origin, just to see Rona and Emil looking his way through the window of a nearby building with Kilie standing behind them.
Renya felt somewhat upset as he had told them to get away at once, but without even trying to consider Renya’s feelings, Emil further added in a casual tone, “I can tag in for you, if you want? How ’bout it?”
Renya thought about what he should do. It’s not like Renya had fully grasped Shion’s condition. However, for some reason a power had manifested itself within Shion which hadn’t happened until now. He believed that Shion had probably gone crazy with that as the cause.
In that case, I think the best method is to pour cold water on her head. Or I might not have any other choice but to keep her company until her mental state settles down.
Those were Renya’s thoughts, but seeing how Emil was a researcher, he believed that she might understand Shion’s current state a lot better than he did. Around the time when he had started to go along with Shion’s attacks, Renya had expected her to run out of steam soon, but unexpectedly Shion continued to stick through this battle for a long time.
Renya didn’t know what kind of power had suddenly manifested within Shion, but it might be the kind that mustn’t be used for a prolonged time.
Just when Renya began to consider entrusting this situation to Emil, Shion turned a stabbing glare at Emil. Due to the intensity of Shion’s glare, Emil’s face, who had been frivolously laughing before, froze in an instant.
“Don’t get in the way…”
Shion’s eyes and her sword weren’t aimed at Renya this time. But the mana Shion released turned into a sword that made Renya recall the time he fought against the human hero.
There is quite a large distance between Shion and Emil’s group. There would normally be no way for a sword attack to reach that far, but what if Shion has even learned how to send a sword flash flying like that hero?
When he considered that possibility, Renya shouted while putting as much power and spirit into his voice as he could, something he hadn’t done since he came to this world. The atmosphere trembled, and Shion’s movements stopped.
Even though they should have been quite a ways away, Rona pressed her hands against her ears while leaking a small scream, and Emil was about to fall backwards as she had apparently bent her head too far back, probably due to her surprise, with Kilie barely managing to support Emil before it became dangerous.
“Your opponent is me, right? You don’t have the leeway to look away.”
Once Renya warned Shion slowly and in an easy-to-understand manner, Shion’s face, which had been mostly filled with something close to murderous intent, suddenly blushed.
“Yeah, you’re right, Renya!”
In front of Renya, who felt relieved thinking that it might have developed into a dangerous situation, Shion readjusted her longsword, and fiercely assaulted Renya again.
If I hadn’t stopped her, Shion might have started to attack Emil.
Renya understood Shion’s current state to be similar to being wasted.
If her discernment were working properly, Shion wouldn’t turn her sword towards her friends over something like this because she simply doesn’t have that kind of personality. However, for some reason Shion’s bounds of common sense have become lax, and she seems to take strangely offensive actions for the most trifling of reasons. It’s something similar to a brawl starting simply because someone tried to meddle with a drunkard..
Shion’s attacks stopped for the moment in front of Renya who was thinking about such things. Renya thought that she might have run out of stamina, but the appearance of Shion readying her sword didn’t look at all as if Shion was taking a break to relax her exhausted arms.
This is…accumulation of power…?
Just as Renya thought that, two spheres of compressed air, the stage before <Roar>, appeared on either side of Shion’s blade. Renya’s feet stopped for a moment because of the parallel activation of <Roar> which Lepard, a hero, had always fired as a single shot so far, not to mention Shion herself. Stopping was a bad move, a mistake Renya would normally not make.
The two released <Roars> didn’t target Renya. Renya understood as much the instant the <Roars> were launched, while their spheres of compressed air burst out towards Renya while making popping sounds.
Just what are those <Roars> aimed at? There’s no need to dodge an attack that won’t hit.
Witnessing Shion charge at him while thrusting out her longsword from in-between the two <Roars>, Renya knew that he made a mistake in his assessment. At the same time he felt admiration for Shion’s battle sense.
She succeeded in using two parallel instances of <Roar> without any preliminary training, and fired them very precisely so as to leave a gap between them that barely allowed a single person to pass through. In addition, the charging power to launch an attack against Renya while the <Roars> fired by her demonstrated their effect.
If her aim were off when she fired the <Roars>, it would have allowed Renya to evade. If her charge had been a tiny bit too late, the <Roars> would have lost their ability to cut off Renya’s path of retreat.
On the one hand, Renya harbored feelings of praise towards Shion’s techniques and abilities, but now they made him wonder how to deal with those attacks unleashed at him.
The full power attacks launched to stop him from escaping could certainly be called magnificent, but Shion hadn’t taken Renya’s defensive abilities into account with those attacks. In reality, if Renya promptly deployed defense magic without chanting, it would be possible to stop the two <Roars> and Shion’s charge before they reached Renya’s body.
However, Renya considered, this isn’t a battlefield, but a training session. Moreover, Shion has desperately racked her brain to come up with this attack. As a fellow swordsman, I would wonder what to think if I simply crushed her strategy through the difference in our abilities. Of course, if this were to be a battlefield, I would need to crush it forcibly, but seeing how that’s not the case right now, shouldn’t I defend against it while making use of a sophisticated technique?
The spell he used was <Manipulation>. Influencing the air with it, he offset the two swirling <Roars> blocking his path of retreat with two vortices rotating in the other direction. Then he dodged the sword tip aimed at his chest by twisting his body to the right side while delivering a kick with his left foot targeting the underside of Shion’s hands which held the sword.
However, Shion responded in a surprising way. She pulled back the sword, and straightened it upwards, meeting Renya’s kick with the pommel. If her hold on the hilt were half-hearted, the sword would slip out of her hands after the pommel was kicked upwards, but there was no way that Shion would go at it with such a weak grip.
Renya’s boots and the sword’s pommel clashed. Grasping that she had succeeded in defending, Shion tried to start the next move, but in Renya’s eyes, even his kick being blocked was within his expectations.
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Now that Shion had straightened the sword to fend off Renya’s kick, there was no blade preventing him from getting close to her from the front. While forcibly stepping in with his left foot that got repelled by the pommel, he followed up with the right foot by pulling it towards himself, approaching Shion so much that there was almost no distance between them.
When Shion noticed that, Renya had already entered into her bosom. In that instant, Shion was forced to unleash a side sweep in desperation. However, Shion’s field of view got turned around instead and she lost consciousness for a moment.
Shion herself didn’t understand what had happened to her at all. Later on, when Rona told her what she saw from her location, Shion finally grasped what had happened.
Once Renya evaded Shion’s side sweep, he moved behind her. There he tripped Shion’s left leg with his left foot, and furthermore grabbed the base of Shion’s right leg with his arms as if putting it into a lock while letting himself fall backwards. Using the momentum, they rolled across the ground like a ball until Shion completely fainted.
Hearing about it afterwards, Shion considered herself lucky that she had tightly put on her hakama. After all it would have developed into an outrageous situation if it had been a skirt.
As a matter of fact, even Rona, who gave her the explanation, had a pale face, obviously not wanting to be on the receiving end of that technique by any means possible. If Rona had gone through the same experience in her priestess’ garb, it would have been fully rolled up, completely exposing her underwear. She was sure that the embarrassment would be beyond her imagination.
“It was no good…after all, huh?” Shion, who woke up on top of the bed she had been placed on to recover, spoke up dejectedly after sitting up, and slumping her shoulders in disappointment.
Exactly because she had believed that she might be able to land at least one attack on Renya, Shion felt devastated by the fact that she had failed completely at it, but Renya, who had been sitting on a chair next to her bed, said with an amazed voice, “Now listen, I wouldn’t be in this position if I allowed attacks to reach me that easily, right?”
“But, just one blow…”
“If you had planned to land a single decent attack against me, you should have at least brought a hero along, don’t you think?”
Once she was told this by Renya as a simple fact not meant as a brag in the least, Shion smiled bitterly while agreeing with him. However, Shion still couldn’t stop thinking about her own failure.
“I wonder whether there’s no other choice for me but to completely rely on you, Renya.”
Renya clearly shook his head at the complaint that escaped her mouth, “No, I understood from this time. That I should have done this a lot sooner.”
“Shion, you…have a somewhat abnormal potential for growth. I hadn’t expected that you’d be able to come this far from just being toyed around by the katurul. I don’t know whether you’ll be able to reach the level of a hero, but I think there’s value in training you.”
Shion’s face brightened up after receiving such an evaluation from Renya.
At the very least, she has a level of ability which allows her to fight.
While believing that only a few women would be delighted about receiving such an evaluation, Renya continued, “For the time being, I will train you. It depends on you whether it’ll lead to something, but are you willing to try?”
“Of course, Renya.”
Renya put on a slightly troubled smile upon hearing her immediate answer. While thinking that it’d be great if he wasn’t later told that this wasn’t what she had expected, there was something Renya had to tell Shion at present.
Restraining Shion, who looked as if she would jump out of her bed at any moment now, with a gesture, he decided to speak up, “Rest your body for now. Since you’ve abused them this much, your stamina and mana should have diminished quite a bit. It’s important to get back in peak condition first. Besides, there’s something you must do before we get started with the training and so on, Shion.”
“What is it?” Shion tilted her head to the side in confusion, obviously having absolutely no clue what this was about.
Renya said, “You will properly take responsibility for the plaza near the ocean you destroyed, and repair it, okay?”
The effect of his words was immediate. Shion’s face turned pale in the blink of an eye. The stones necessary to repair the paving would likely add up to quite the weight. Since Shion had also punctured holes into the ground below the paving, it was easy even for someone with no knowledge of public works to estimate that the work needed in order to fix the soil would be quite hard as well. Normally, it wasn’t a task a single person would be able to accomplish.
“Well, do your best and consider it a part of your training.”
While thinking that he would probably have to help her anyway, Renya said so before Shion could retort anything while putting a tiny amount of nastiness in his words, and revealing an evil smile.