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Given that Viine doesn’t possess <Demonic Gift of Natural Talent> that boosts growth like I do, she can’t hope for rapid growth. However, she’s acquired a sword style that uses blood.
If she continues training in the harsh environment of the Whirlpool Forest of Demonic Fog like this…she might eventually obtain a skill related to <Blood Path – Open Second Gate>.
Still, she didn’t mention her desire to see the ocean or eastern cities and learn about cultures with a single word. That makes me slightly worried.
Well, for now I’m going to interpret it as her wanting to prioritize martial arts.
While worrying about my beloved Viine, I’m touching the nostrils of the expressionless Muu with a finger.
Muu tenses up and stares at me with a look as if screaming at me, 『What are you doing, you perverted sleazebag!』. Her deep blue, cute eyes are wasted on such an expression, but she doesn’t let go of my sleeve and her cheeks flush crimson.
Is she a tsundere?
I headed outside to the plaza while taking Muu with me. On the other side of the wooden wall surrounding the training square stood Riedel.
It looks like she’s holding many apples in a hand-made bag out of cloth that seems to be made with tree bark. She’s waving a hand with a smile on her lips.
Riedel is rather seedy-looking, but still quite adorable in her own way. Muu remains expressionless even after spotting Riedel.
After I answer her by also waving with a smile, I step on the training ground where Kisara is practicing her martial art stances.
Lash-san is floating above me. By the way, when I tried to enclose Lash-san with my <Chain> on a whim, I was actually able to catch her. Of course I tried to touch her next, but that didn’t work. Only catching her with my chain was possible…unfortunately.
On the other hand, Lash-san looked pretty pissed!
Since she angrily pointed a finger at me while the chain was squeezed between her seductive boobs, I immediately canceled my chain. While at it, I considered for an instant that my skill might put Lash-san at risk, but nothing happened.
I don’t know whether she could become like Catiza, so it’s definitely better to not try that. I wouldn’t be able to face Quiche if something were to happen to Lash-san.
Having said that, she’s a ghost…
Helme and Puyuyu are flying through the air in the opposite direction of Lash-san.
“Hehe, this swarm of butterflies sure is interesting~”
As soon as Puyuyu is tossed into the air by Helme, it makes the bugs and butterflies, which have been buzzing around the dreamcatcher-like decorations of its twisted wand, fly around Helme. Helme shoots sprays of water at them from the tip of her finger, playing around with Puyuyu as if enjoying a sky stroll.
Rotalz flees higher up into the sky, apparently running away from those two. No, he’s not fleeing. He’s fighting a wild, huge whale. He’s been fighting a flock of wild whales as if out to create an art truck legend.
“――You dare to bite me who’s survived Desra’s waves!? I’ll turn you dumb mutts into lunch!!” Rotalz shouted.
Usually he’s in charge of playing the idiot, so maybe he’s accumulated quite a bit of stress. And he’s no Divine Beast Rollodeen, but…he extends the horn on his submarine-like forehead, skewering one of the huge whales. That thing is terrifying in its own right…
You might call him the deep black main battleship, err, guardian deity that protects Cydale. If my friend and lord of Holkerbaum, Earl Makfol zen Rakolazei, saw him, he’d likely order, “Bimiyal, catch it! I want to have that as my guard, by all means!”
It’d be great if he’s doing fine.
Finishing the brief training of <Saraten’s Secret Art> afterwards, I started a mock battle with Kisara. Muu and the Rollo Squad watched from atop the fence. Riedel stood behind Muu, observing as well.
The instant I looked away, Kisara performed a mid kick with the outer edge of her foot as if to show off the other side of her thick combat boots. I repel the instep approaching my torso with Baldok.
“But, about Saraten earlier, you seem to struggle with handling Holy Sword Saraten despite possessing the Dawn’s sorcery techniques――” While commenting, Kisara unleashed a <Thrust> with her witch spear.
――She’s aiming for my collar, huh?
The witch spear’s head was coming closer in front of my eyes. While doing a head slip, I retreated half a step, and thus avoided her stab.
Kisara is currently wearing a black goth-outfit without any sleeves. It’s the one with frilly cloths attached to it. Just like before, a pattern of small crosses has been added to it, making it look like an Othello board. Given that the drawing of Mephalla-sama, who represents the evil aspect, is scary, I’d like to have it naturally covered by mosaics.
However, the skirt with its garter belt flits…I’ve to endure for now.
“What are those Dawn’s sorcery techniques you’ve mentioned――” I asked while paying her back with a low <Fang Stab>.
“――It dates back to a time long before the Great Befaritz Empire. In those ancient times huge amounts of ancient dwarves and races related to Skull Soldier Damo’Anun still existed. It was before the Goldix region was turned into a huge desert. A legendary paradise called Empire of Dawn ruled over that area. It’s said that Dawn’s Golden City Mugo was to be found there――” While quickly rattling this down, she dodged my low stab by widening her thighs, and then landed after twisting her body.
Those movements were splendid, but also seductive…
The magic garment worn by her seems to be linked with her grimoire, seeing how the book is glowing right now. And the color patterns of the filaments are reacting as well. Since it’s seriously beautiful, it puts me on the spot. Moreover, the chest area of her nun’s garb naturally wobbles intensely, too.
As it is now, you can count it as a technique to pin down her opponent’s eyes.
At that moment, Kisara’s witch spear and Baldok clash. Both our restraining spear attacks collide from the front, causing both spears to get repelled alongside a huge amount of sparks. It also ends Kisara’s explanation.
I’m curious about the continuation of her story, but I’m in the middle of a mock battle now.
Immediately twisting my waist, I pull back Baldok close to me with my right hand. Then I unleash yet another <Thrust> to the front with Baldok.
Kisara looks relaxed. While sweeping her spear from the right top to the lower left, she fends off my <Thrust>.
Then again, I’ve already accounted for her repelling it. Without losing a moment, I sent forth a <Darkness Drill> as follow-up with Ganghis in my left hand.
Kisara presses a finger against the indented crest symbol on the witch spear’s handle as if doing a thumb print.
“――Hehe, it’s a terrifying black crow stabbing technique. The breath’s alias of 『Soaring Crow Piercing through the Dark before Dawn』 is perfectly fitting for you, Shuuya-sama! That’s why we witches attend you!”
Kisara is very happy. She quickly moves her witch spear, and flicks away my <Darkness Drill> while drawing a blood-stained 卍 in the air. A discordant metallic clank reverberates. The skull spearhead is shaved off by the vibrating spearhead of Ganghis.
However, within milliseconds, the damage turns into a blood cluster with a gurgling, swells up, and returns to its former shape, or rather changes into a more refined shape.
The spearhead’s shape has now changed more when compared to the last time we fought before. Kisara has probably used her blood.
She continues wielding her crimson-glowing witch spear with fluid motions. She extends the spear towards my feet. It’s a scything attack that combines defense and offense. It’s a spear movement reminiscent of a Valkyrie. A technique based on the Heavenly Witch Style, huh?
While parrying her spear with both Baldok and Ganghis, I’m in awe about her attack. As I admire her skill, I shift my body sideways and pull back my foot, and immediately after avoiding Kisara’s low sweep, I lightly jump up as if to show her the soles of my feet.
Just like that, I land on her spear’s head with Arzen’s Boots
I’ve sealed her witch spear by placing my body weight on its tip. At the same time, I readjust my hold on Baldok and Ganghis, shortening it down, and let them sally forth as if to drill into Kisara’s shoulders.
“――Even a short spear technique!?”
While looking surprised, Kisara lets go of the spear and falls back. Her spear falls to the ground while pinned under my feet.
However, the filaments, which are radially extending from the hole in the spear’s handle, form a sphere in the air as if to protect Kisara’s retreat while deploying and transforming into an oni-faced shield similar to a Rattan Shield.
Baldok’s ax blade and Ganghis’s spearhead crash into that Rattan Shield, causing it to give off sparks. In the middle of the shower of dazzling sparks, Kisara presses both her palms against the ground after having taken some distance.
“Thou becomest piercing, Cloud Rain Crow. Hyureya――” Kisara announced through her <Magic Breath> with her hands on the ground.
As if matching her chanting, the grimoire, which has been dangling at her waist, floats up, automatically opens with its pages flipping, and at the same time, pieces of the paper fly out into the air.
“Becomest the sixth of the Hundred Demon Path, Cloud Rain Crow. Hyureya――”
The pieces of paper take on the shapes of crows in response to her magic voice, like origami. The origami crows float around Kisara. Swellings similar to creeping earthworms appear from her cheeks throughout her forehead.
Moreover, countless small magic symbols and characters looking like black, geometrical patterns manifest from the black rosaries on both her wrists. Those magic symbols and characters cover her hands, just to move on into the ground, creating a magic crest on the earth’s surface in no time.
Caricature-like, three-dimensional, black ink crows come out of that crest. The ink crows overlap with the origami crows around them, fusing. The origami crows transform into big crows clad in darkness. And those big crows pour down on me like rain.
It’s my first time to witness this technique, no, magic. I can’t react.
The huge army of crows, which look like they’ve suddenly expanded, dye everything black in front of me, including space. My visual field has been completely blocked off.
But, it seems different from Iglued’s technique. My visual field restores. However…
I’ve received a twin-chain of blows against my right shoulder and left flank. I immediately shift my body, and while performing a rotation on my toes, I dodge several of Kisara’s blows.
My field of view has now returned to its previous state, but I’ve been forced into defense.
“Even <Cloud Rain Crow>lasted but a moment, huh――” Kisara hisses in disbelief while black soot, which appear to be small flames, billows up from her rosaries.
It looks like the effect of her <Magic Breath> has been added as well. By now she’s already advancing. Extremely fast at that. The spell’s effect and her walking technique that allows her to close the distance quickly is so skillful that it’s staggering.
Her method of quickly closing in while lowering her lower body half reminds me of Master Achilles. I’m in a state of having my whole body clad in Magic Combat Style, but right now Kisara’s speed exceeds mine.
Should I raise the gear by one level through <Blood Acceleration>?
That’s what I ponder, but the battle has already switched into close combat.
“――I’ll get serious now! <Transparent Wear>! <White Shining Fist>!”
The earthworm-swelling-like marks ranging from the outer corners of her eyes to her cheeks look like scars of her having been beaten with a scabbard. Shouting in that state, Kisara unleashes several palm heels simultaneously.
That Chinese palm fighting style hosted heavy blows as if gravity had been added to shock waves full of mana.
I try to defend myself with Baldok and Ganghis, but I’m not in time because of the handles’ length. I eat several of Kisara’s quick blows.
Hal’Konk is of Mythological class, but it seems like her mana has penetrated the interior of my body… Damage that directly affects the body’s interior. It hurts――
After repeatedly getting hit while continuing to dodge a few times…I decide to match Kisara.
“――Very well, I’ll admit that you’re strong, Kisara!”
“Hehe, you too, Shuuya-sama! But, you won’t let me smell your blood…” After laughing, Kisara’s face turns sad towards the end of her remark.
Without minding that, I erase Baldok and Ganghis. And then I use a technique combining an unskilled palm heel style and the Wind Spear Style’s kumite. With my standing techniques centered around punches and elbow strikes, I gradually manage to parry Kisara’s close-proximity blows.
It’s not like I got scolded by Master Achilles with 『How do you plan to dance if you keep losing balance?』 for show――
“――T-This is the Wind Spear Style’s――kumite?” Kisara is bewildered by the rapid blows that make use of my back and shoulders.
Kisara throws her eyes wide open all of a sudden.
While twisting my arm after switching to palm strikes with knee strikes added into the mix, I abruptly extend my arms to the sides like monkey arms, and unleash a One-Two-Elbow chain attack. Following that, I unleash a spear hand by putting my fingers together, referencing Gramps Ton and Kisara’s fingers.
Due to this close combat technique I’ve sent her way, her face gets colored by surprise while she clads her whole body in mana. Her eyelids are crawling like worms.
“――Ugh, I’ve never seen something like that! Kuh, too fast――”
Kisara is also amazing for somehow being able to keep up with my original spear kumite. And it’s not like I’m using it to oppose her mana, but immediately after I expand water through life magic at my feet, I dodge a series of Kisara’s perfect close-combat strikes with <Hazy Moon Reflection on Water>, and then adopt a version of the 『Demonic Fishing Palm Blade』 where I put both hands together, just as I’ve been taught before.
While creating sheets of water spray at my feet, I parry Kisara’s palm heel with the back of my right hand. Then I divert her hand, which is placed on the back of my hand, away to the side as if to drag her closer with my arm.
Kisara is in a state of having her arm extended for her palm heel. Her body, clad by the magic garment, has lurched in the same direction as her arm.
I use that chance to grab her wrist, and immobilize her arm joints. While twisting her arm inwards, I pull it towards my back.
She’s powerfully pushed forward with her arm being glued to my back. I let go of her hand. If I now delivered a hand strike against her nape, it’d end the mock battle, but…I won’t do anything so boring.
“――Kyaa!” Kisara yelped cutely after having her balance broken.
While hopping on one leg, she fixes her posture by performing a splendid cartwheel. As she has apparently manipulated her mana at the same time, mana is accumulating in both her hands.
In the meantime, I summon Baldok back into my right hand, whereas Kisara concentrates her mana in the black rosaries on her wrists once again.
And then she breathes out magically, “Thou becomest piercing, Pelican. Hyureya――”
It’s a <Magic Breath> spell with a stronger supernatural vocal sound than the one earlier.
“Becomest the seventh of the Hundred Demon Path, Pelican. Hyureya――”
“Becomest a sand locust of blood, eighth principle of the Hundred Demon Path. Hyureya――”
A chain of <Magic Breaths>, huh?
Previously she exhibited a spear technique where she charged at me after making the mana all over her body burst forth, but this time it’s different. Black soot-like mana erupts from the rosaries, forming small, round magic crest layers that surround her wrists. Birds resembling pelicans that are covered by black soot fly out of those magic crests.
Moreover, when the pelicans’ eyes start to glow red, they open their beaks all at once, spitting out bloody locusts from within.
I consider offsetting those with my <Chain> or magic, but then I evade in a hurry. The flock of pelicans follows me from all sides.
Next, immediately after I notice the clots of blood in the shape of locusts at the edge of my sight, I rush towards the right as if to circumvent those locusts while yelling, “Looks like you’ve also got plenty of projectile weapons at your disposal――”
I swiftly switch Baldok around between my right and left hand, furiously swinging it around in all directions. At the same time, I carry out 『Peafowl Break』, an improved version of the Wind Spear Style’s practical skill 『Branch Break』, and thus strike down the pelicans and locusts with the spearhead and Magic Dragon Gem.
“Just as it has been declared as part of a witch’s attendant duty according to Damon’Anun, I had comrades who were specialized in close combat, so――”
While Kisara’s words resound in my ears, the pelicans, which clashed with Baldok, disappear while creating flashes of light. The crushed bloody locusts instantly transform into a dense blood mist. At the same time, my visual field is dyed with blood.
“…Blocking the combo attack of <Pelican> and <Desert Blood Locusts> with nothing but a halberd at short range…truly proves that you’re the second coming of Damon’Anun! It’s a spearmanship similar to a raging sandstorm that surpasses gods and men!”
While Kisara chatters away excitedly, I focus on the First Gate while I pull off a cartwheel. But, are those things that used to be blood clots in the shape of locusts made out of Kisara’s blood?
As I’m wondering about that, I suck up the blood mist covering my sight with my entire body.
In the meantime, Kisara releases many paper cranes from one of her rosaries. After having those cranes attach themselves to her witch spear, she pulls the spear back towards herself. Holding the witch spear with both hands, she rotates it in a semi-circle at her chest. With the spearhead pointing downwards and the butt end upwards, she takes a stance as if pressing the handle against her forehead.
After seeing that, I hit the ground with the heel of my left palm that’s charged with mana. Due to the recoil, my body is forced to suddenly rotate, changing the motion of my cartwheel and moving myself forward through mid-air. At the same time, I place my left hand on my chest pocket and draw out Yazekapos’s Dagger from within, holding it between index and middle finger.
Simultaneously I twist my body in the air, and immediately after Kisara enters my field of view, I snap my wrist towards her, <Throwing> Yazekapos’s Dagger at her.
Kisara’s blue eyes gleam as they look at me across her witch spear. And then the filaments start to squirm like living snakes. Those filaments stand in complete contrast to her, white, silky forelocks.
Within a few milliseconds, those filaments turn into a shield cluster that glows glittery like a fur made out of optical fibers, or rather, a futuristic, deep, braided hat as worn by samurai. 1
Yazekapos’s bluish-white blade is easily repelled by that hat.
Just like earlier and when we fought for the first time, the defense capabilities of those filaments are exceedingly high.
Afterwards, she’s going to switch into a charging stance, using her <Magic Breath>, and then show me a series of witch spear stabs?
That’s what I predicted, but…huh? She’s not positioning herself to thrust her spear at me. Rather, Kisara has stopped moving.
“…Is something wrong?”
“That blade…don’t tell me…” Kisara stares at Yazekapos’s Dagger.
It looks like she knows that weapon. Currently it’s stuck in the ground close to Muu.
Riedel, who’s been standing behind Muu, has dropped her bag with apples out of surprise. On the other hand, Muu is quietly sitting on the fence, looking as if nothing has happened. While showing a happy expression, she’s eating the apple in her hand.
Rollo, who had been next to Muu, is slightly away from her now together with Alray and Hueremy, Rollo’s underlings.
At first they’ve been eagerly following the movements of our spears, but it looks like they’ve grown tired of it. Currently they’re fully absorbed in playing around by walking atop the fence.
After watching the antics of the three cats for a short moment, I shift my eyes back to Kisara. Her eyes are still fixed on Yazekapos’s Dagger. Is it some kind of memento?
When I look at Muu, she looks about done with eating her apple. And then, after gazing at the apples that have spilled out of Riedel’s dropped bag, and the cats, Muu shifts her eyes towards Baldok. Next she glares at Kisara’s big boobs, then scrutinizes her witch spear, and finally looks at my face.
Her small, deep blue eyes restlessly moving around while she shakes her short hair with its silver streaks for dear life is somewhat cute.
The wooden fence beneath her butt is a simple construction I made with <Tree of the Evil King>. And the apples, which Ridel brought with her and Muu ate, have been harvested by Catiza and the others.
I’ve eaten those apples a little while ago as well. They are juicy, have a great consistency and a rich fragrance that fills your nose with a mellow sweetness. They were truly delicious.
Those are wildly grown apples, despite this being another world. I think it’s because we’re in the Sea of trees here. Maybe this place has good insects that kill all the harmful insects or wild herbs with a natural insect repellent effect are growing in the area. Stuff like vegetable fields with plenty of phytochemicals might be around as well.
Well, I suppose they’ve grown up thanks to a combination of various forces of nature. But I can’t really tell since I haven’t seen the apple trees myself as of yet.
The dwarf Donagan had stared at the apples brought back by Catiza, and after kicking up a fuss, he talked about something with Quiche, but…she welcomed the apples as a resource for Cydale, albeit lamenting that it’d be difficult to sell them.
I’ve got my mirrors, and I told her that I’d also sponsor money if needed, but… she said rather unhappily, 『I don’t mind the parts done by you, Shuuya, but…』.
She’s very dutiful and stubborn, but considering the future of the village, I suppose it’s only natural for her to decide like that. I mean, she probably wants to rebuild the village while at the same time expanding it and staying self-sufficient.
But, I don’t care about things like that. The Death Butterfly people, orcs, and the forces of the Tree King of Wonders are around. That’s why I’ll build a wall for the village. It’s high-handed, but I won’t let Quiche complain about it.
After all, it’ll be too late once there are casualties among the children.
While pondering about that, I keep staring at Muu who’s eating another apple. She’s wearing a new simple, linen dress. She’s missing one arm and leg, so the fabric is loosely hanging down at those parts. However, the creases of the hanging cloth parts are fitting her in a weird way.
I examine the attire made by Dokoko-san. She exclusively made it for Muu while including the missing body parts in her design. Dokoko-san mentioned that she used the raw material of tsukushi monsters, the loot of an orc with the name Riodec, and a flax brake that had existed in Cydale to begin with, but I must say, she’s a skilled, fat elf.
As I’m watching Muu, I notice a square shape bulging out from inside the clothes around her belly. Is she carrying a book between her belly and the inner waist string? It doesn’t seem to have a size that would point towards a belly band. Is it a wood plank as an armor substitute?
Since Muu’s dress is somewhat bigger, it doesn’t stand out too much, though. It looks like she’s hiding something.
Muu seems to have been curious about the martial arts performed by Kisara and me. She’s stopped following Moga around. I thought that Riedel is interested in spearmanship as well, but it looks like her interest is rather directed at me. Once I look at her, she becomes enraptured with her cheeks becoming as red as the apples she was carrying.
Seemingly pissed off by me, Muu throws the remaining core of the apple she finished at me, and then jumps off the log fence. Next she tries to extend her remaining hand for Yazekapos’s Dagger that’s still stuck in the ground.
Its blade is going to suck up her mana and stamina, so she mustn’t touch it no matter what.
Immediately as I’m about to run over while shouting, I see Kisara’s back. She’s been faster than me because of her location. Kisara swiftly picks up the dagger with her right hand.
She was awfully fast, but I immediately understood the reason. The witch spear, which she has stabbed into the ground, is trembling violently. It seems she moved so quickly by using the recoil of her spear after kicking off it.
The filaments, which had bunched up into a shield, have already separated, and are now fluttering in the wind like beautiful hair.
With dagger in hand, Kisara heads towards one of the pillars propping up the fence around the training ground while lightly brushing Muu’s side, places her sole on the pillar, and runs up just like that with a gratifying tapping sound. It looks as if her combat boots are being sucked into the wooden post. And then she jumps with the idea of a triangle jump.
After magnificently turning her body over in the air, Kisara lands next to the witch spear. Then she gazes at the dagger in her hand.
Muu reacts to Kisara’s wonderful movements. While holding a new apple in her mouth, she knocks against the fence with her hand. Her face shows no emotions, but it looks like her eyes are gleaming. Maybe she’s expressing her admiration after having witnessed Kisara’s movements.
Wearing a nun’s garb which gives those movements a certain charm, Kisara has been scrutinizing the dagger for a while now. She doesn’t wear her trademark, the black mask. That’s why her blue eyes distinctly stand out beneath her slender, white eyebrows.
The welt marks ranging from her cheeks to her forehead have disappeared.
As she continues staring at the dagger, a sharp glint dwells in her eyes, “This blade pattern is Yazekapos――”
As if asking where I’ve got my hands on this, she shows Yazekapos’s blade to me in a way that makes it easy to discern the hamon. 2
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