Kenshin no Keishousha:Volume 1 Chapter4

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Chapter 4 - A Kiss to the Sword[edit]

The curtains were raised for the second day of the elimination matches.

What was shocking was things went about as usual as if yesterday’s disturbance within the warehouse never happened. The elimination matches stayed on track and resumed as usual.

Because of the agreement between Kurou and the Sun Cultists, they did not pursue them. In consideration of Lima’s honor, the matter of her being wounded by a human was never disclosed. However, it was quite unimaginable that the incident’s follow up was conducted in a way as if nothing ever occurred.

Lars’s cover up of the incident was quite horrifying. You wouldn’t want this guy as your enemy.

“......However, this is such a pain. The waiting time is so long.”

Kurou heaved a heavy sigh.

At the assembly place where the elimination matches were held, there was a lounge accessible to the many participants waiting on their matches. Kurou and Hinako were just staring on as they sat on a couch within a corner of the lounge.

“Kuro is really quite laid-back.”

“I don’t need to hear it from you.”

“However, everyone else seems to be in a nervous wreck.”

The students who were about to take the stage stayed close to the side of the lounge that was towards the arena. As a result, an air of tension clouding over that place was probably to be expected.

“It’s now round three, the competition has become more fierce. Everyone has probably forgotten about the assault incident already.”

“Even those words sound quite carefree. Eh? That said, I haven’t seen Sefi or Lars.”

“I already told you, don’t directly call them by their names. Also, since when did you start directly addressing Sefi-sama by her name as well?”

Hinako was too unsophisticated in these matters. It didn’t matter much for a guy like Lars, but if she were to call Sefi, who was the princess of the four generals and possessed outstanding swordsmanship, by her name directly, then it would cause a huge commotion. Although that was the case, no matter how many times he warned Hinako it was probably a fruitless endeavor.

“Jeez......since Lars always wanders off as he pleases, even I have no clue where that guy is. However, there’s a special lounge for distinguished students so perhaps Sefi-sama should be in there.”

If your grade was good, it would result in better treatment. Since this school was organized by competing for ranks, it wasn’t a bad thing to bestow special treatment to those with superior grades.

“Ah, it’s Sefi’s turn.”

Hinako was watching the large display screen installed in the lounge as she spoke.

The large display screen broadcasted multiple sections of the arena, allowing it to capture many matches occurring at once.

“Can Sefi win?”

“Last time during the tournament she attained third place. As long as she doesn’t fool around she won’t lose.”

As he was saying this, Sefi’s wooden sword heavily struck her opponent’s shoulder and the wooden sword fell out of her opponent’s hands. Just as he was considering whether or not the girl looked a bit shaken up————she toppled over. She hadn’t lost her fighting spirit from the beginning, but her body was unable to withstand Sefi’s attack.

Sefi comforted her opponent and then departed from the tournament stage. She was very gentle towards her own gender. If only she was that gentle towards me as well, Kurou thought along these lines.

“It still isn’t Kuro’s turn yet?”

“No, there’s still around ten minutes left.”

Kurou responded while being fixated on the display screen. It was just as he said, once at round three, those that were present were all the students with excellent swordsmanship. They weren’t fully developed yet but after two or three years, who knows to what extent they would mature to.

Although there were Swordies who blossomed early on, there were also many who developed slowly. Among those kinds of people, they could perhaps become one of the Seven Swords of the future as well.

Kurou suddenly recalled, if the number one ranked student from year one, Migune, was still alive————

“Ahhh————!”

Suddenly, the cry of a girl’s voice sounded from somewhere.

Kurou did not spare a moment of hesitation. He grabbed the hand of Hinako, who blankly stared on, and ran out.

Everyone within the lounge had heard the cry, however Kurou was the fastest one to respond.

Kurou held Hinako’s hand and raced towards the sound of the cry.

Although it was quite a foolish thing for a bodyguard to specifically lead the person he was guarding to peril, Kurou would rather confront the danger than run away.

Based on the circumstances, in many cases he had to actively eliminate the danger factors to create a safer environment as opposed to running away. Kurou judged based on his own intuition, hence having fallen under this state.

Afterwards, they ran through the intricate paths leading around the arena.

As Kurou and Hinako arrived at the entrance of a room, there were many female students gathered around and chattering away indistinctly.

Kurou instantly noticed the red colored liquid flowing out from the room to where he was standing.

As he made his way through the crowd of female students and caught a gander of what was in the room, he noticed that what was lying there was just as he expected.

It was a girl covered in blood.

Although her face laid downwards, there wasn’t even a need to confirm who it was.

The number two ranked swordswoman, Freya, was dead.



“All of a sudden, a strange person stormed into the room......”

One of Freya’s supporters, with tears in her eyes, stated as such.

In order to inquire more about the situation, Kurou brought one of the girls standing by Freya’s corpse out of the lounge. Right now, gathering information was absolutely essential.

However, she appeared to be inattentive towards Kurou who was asking her questions. She was still in a state of confusion so grasping the main points of her explanation proved quite difficult.

Even so, this was what he understood after organizing what she had said: When Freya was in the lounge, she was ambushed and killed with one strike.

“She appeared to be wearing......black, loose fitting clothing. I couldn’t discern her appearance due to the hood she was wearing......”

“Is that so.”

Basically, it must have been the same arts user that Kurou had encountered a couple days ago or perhaps an accomplice of hers.

The number one ranked student of his grade, Migune, was murdered, the third ranked Sefi was attacked, and now the second ranked Freya was killed. The chances of her targets being the exceptional students were quite high.

What if, the arts user wanted to conveniently finish the task left undone from a couple days ago after she slayed Freya————

“Tch.”

Kurou clicked his tongue and hightailed off once again while pulling Hinako along.

However, he instantly stopped in his tracks and returned to the sobbing girl. Kurou then grabbed her shoulders.

“People are gathering here due to the fervent crowd. Freya probably wouldn’t want herself to be seen like this. Forget about the safety of this crowd for now, just have her body set down properly and cover her with a blanket.”

After the girl confirmed with a nod of the head, Kurou set off once again.

Although it felt like Hinako wished to say something, Kurou remained silent as they continued to dash forward. They only knew Freya from their brief conversation so their silence wasn’t because either of them were in deep sorrow over her loss.

Despite that, Kurou wanted to protect Freya’s honor. That was all the reason he needed considering this was expected from him.

Furthermore, he must put an end to the number of victims. Thus, he had no choice but to immediately head towards his destination.

“......”

However, Hinako wasn’t a fast runner. It was obvious that she didn’t have adequate exercise since she had always been imprisoned in a Sun Cult facility. Nevertheless, there was no way he could just ditch her.

“Kurou-kun.”

“What!?”

Suddenly, from the corner of his vision came a girl wearing a red long coat————it was Manaka.

Kurou stopped and unwaveringly stared at his boss.

“Manaka, what are you doing here?”

“Oh nothing. I received an invitation from the principal asking if I would like to watch the elimination matches. Furthermore, I also had to send two squads over to the academy out of courtesy, and I was told that ‘the students would be quite happy if one of the Seven Swords could come’, so there’s various reasons why I’m here. That said, why are you in such a hurry?”

“I don’t have the leisure to explain right now. However, you came at the perfect time. Please take this child off my hands for now.”

“Ha? You’re asking me? You want me to train her to have your favored tsundere attribute?”

“Why would I request my boss for something like that!? I’m asking if you would take my place as her bodyguard for now. Taking her somewhere where there's a lot of people would probably be more suitable. Well then, I’ll be taking my leave!”

Kurou did not even wait for Manaka’s response and just handed her Hinako.

Although it was very unexpected that Manaka would come here to watch the competition, it could only be said as good fortune for him. There was probably no one more suitable than having her take his place as that child’s bodyguard.

However, there were still matters that needed to be attended to————



“He left.......”

Hinako muttered while gazing at the pathway that Kurou swiftly ran through.

“It all developed into a complete mess rather quickly......”

“Kurou-kun has already trained to his limits as a human————even with his Olden Style, he can never stride past the disparity in terms of physical capabilities against a Swordie. He might even be the strongest among all humans.”

That was probably quite the exaggeration still. Although, Hinako kept this thought to herself. She had absolutely no understanding of his physical capability.

“That said, he has some nerve to be pushing his own work onto his boss! That bastard is really undaunted.”

“Sefi is really important to him. Kurou highly values her even though it clearly isn’t part of his work.”

“That guy went to Sefi’s place? I’ve noticed that things are a bit rowdy around here, what in the world happened?”

Hinako roughly explained the incident regarding Freya. Hinako guessed that Kurou had probably figured the enemy had their sights set on Sefi, thus he ran towards her location.

“.......Oh, the incident occurred once again? In that case, there’s probably no chance of them being able to conceal themselves within the academy anymore. It may turn into a more catastrophic situation. Guess I’ll be busied with this as well. Alright alright, what should we do next——”

“......?”

Hinako looked at Manaka as she tilted her head.

No matter what, wasn’t the job of the Sabers to find the assailants and arrest them? Or was this situation handed over to the police to deal with?

“Haha, no need to worry. Compared to this......it is really quite awful of Kurou-kun. No matter how cute Sefi is, for him to have thrown you aside is really......”

“This precisely demonstrates how important Sefi is to him. Is it due to the difference in the amount of time acquainted?”

“Is that so. I don’t quite understand dating and such, especially if it is between a Swordie and a human. It is possible for humans to marry Swordies since they can still bear children, however relationships between Swordies and humans are rarely seen. They’d eventually go through many hardships.”

Manaka seemed to really sympathize for Kurou and Sefi.

It wasn’t just the difference in race between Kurou and Sefi, there were plenty of other obstacles. Even Hinako felt that was the case.

“By the way, Kurou hasn’t made a move on you yet? I've even gone through the trouble of giving you nice clothes.”

Manaka overtly gazed at Hinako’s voluptuous chest and her soft legs.

“I’m also quite fascinated at the concept of making love.”

Hinako calmly endured Manaka’s line of sight and faintly mentioned.

“Kurou hasn’t done anything to me. He didn’t seek out my undergarments and never even peeked in as I was bathing.”

“Really? That’s pretty lame. I wasn’t sure if Kurou-kun would be motivated in guarding you. I basically thought if he were to make a move on you, then he’d take his bodyguard assignment more diligently.”

Manaka had her arms folded as she began pondering.

It was quite difficult to imagine Hinako ever being together with someone like Manaka who was one of the Swordie’s strongest Seven Swords. She gave the impression of an older sister improperly dealing with boredom.

“Well, there’s nothing we can do either way. If that side fails then it’d be perfect. That means we can make some progress over here.”

“What side do you mean?”

“About that, just·wait·and·see.”

With Manaka’s statement possessing some sort of implication, Hinako blinked in response.

Hinako was immediately dumbfounded————

“......?”

Suddenly, an overwhelming pressure came at her.

Against this astounding power that was hard to stand up against————Hinako felt as if everything in front of her was violently shaking.

Meanwhile, just as a precaution, he had already checked on the lounge where Sefi was.

During the elimination tournament, Sefi had supporters by her side and as a result, Kurou felt there was no need to be overly concerned about her. However, Freya was pretty much under the same circumstances when she was killed, thus it showed how naive his thinking was.

Kurou mustered all his effort in running towards the front of Sefi’s lounge. Without a shred of hesitation, he forcefully opened the door.

“Sefi!”

“......Eh?”

A splendid scene awaited Kurou on the other side of the door.

Kenshin v01 200.jpg

Sefi, who was only wearing an aqua blue bra on top, was drying herself off with a towel. Since the skirt to her uniform was raised, her legs were completely exposed.

Tiny beads of sweat covered her flushed red face. From the valley of those two swells, her slender waistline, and supple legs, it all emitted a peculiar seductive aura.

No, right now was not the time to be getting excited over this stuff.

“Thank goodness Sefi.”

“H-Hold on......!”

Kurou tightly hugged Sefi’s body. Her skin was tender and smooth, her body heat even faintly transferred over.

“I’m so glad you’re ok. For a moment I was thinking what would become of you......”

“W-What are you doing......what made you do something like this, there must be a reason!?”

“It’s fine as long as you’re ok.”

“It’s not fine!”

Once Sefi returned to her senses, she forcefully separated herself from Kurou’s body. Under these circumstances, it was plain to see that Kurou’s strength could not resist that of a Swordie’s.

“What is this all of a sudden you idiot.”

Sefi swiftly put on the shirt to her uniform and promptly combed her hair. Her face was in a blush and her eyes were brimming with tears.

“Looks like if I don’t explain first......”

Kurou concisely briefed her of Freya’s situation. He also explained that he thought the attacker might come towards Sefi as well so that was why he hurried over here.

“......Freya’s dead? No way, how could something like this happen in school?”

“Although it’s quite regrettable, it is the truth. Sefi, are you by yourself? Where are your supporters?”

“Since I wanted to concentrate on the match beforehand, I sent my friends off. I had thought that the attacker wouldn’t be stupid enough to come here with all the people gathered in the room......”

“That’s what I thought as well. However, the opposition doesn’t seem to care about how things turn out. For now, let’s leave. Sefi, do you have the Starbreaker on you?”

“Yeah, I had it just in case. Where do you plan on heading?”

Sefi grabbed the Starbreaker that was leaning against the wall in the corner of the room as she asked.

“Perfect, Manaka is here as well. Although she always makes me feel a bit gloomy, there’s no safer place than by her side.”

“That’s true.”

Despite her attitude, Manaka was someone worthy of being one of the Seven Swords. One or two arts users were probably no big deal.

Kurou and Sefi both walked out of the lounge and scurried along the path. They kept a close watch on all sides as Kurou retrieved his cellphone to call Manaka.

“......Hmm?”

Since Manaka was pretty negligent, having forgotten her cellphone elsewhere was very possible. For now, they could only head towards where he last parted from Manaka.

“Hey, Kurou.”

“What is it?”

Kurou put the cellphone back in his pocket as he replied.

“Even if it’s a time like this......please forget about that matter from before.”

“What are you talking about?”

Seeing Sefi’s face, he noticed that she hastily avoided his line of sight and blushed. This girl who was holding that ridiculously gargantuan sword revealed an embarrassed expression. How unusual.

“What I meant was......t-that matter regarding when I attacked you, you should just erase that sort of thing from your memory.”

“Ah. You see, there’s been a lot of things happening recently.”

“Y-You’re right. However, please just forget about it. I must have been in a daze at the time. It’s because it has been a long time since I last witnessed Kurou’s sword so I just got a bit excited is all. It’s got nothing to do with being captivated or anything.”

As Sefi’s face turned red, she rapidly spoke with a barrage of words.

“Please forget all of that. I-I......also......did that thing with you. Just erase the memory of what was pretty much a dog bite!”

“What dog, hey.”

Of course, she was most likely referring to the kiss.

“Even if you tell me to disregard it————that impactful experience is hard to overlook.”

Kurou was an exceedingly aberrant individual, but despite this he was still just a fifteen year-old teenager. After kissing a beauty like Sefi, it was impossible to pretend nothing had happened.

“It was an impactful experience......y-you haven’t......kissed that girl yet?”

“That girl? Haha, oh you mean her. N-No way, I haven’t even laid a finger on her.”

This he could swear to god. Although they were living under the same roof, for Kurou to even visually take pleasure in Hinako was a bit worrying.

“I-I see. So you haven’t done anything to her, not bad not bad. Nevertheless, it’d be pitiful if the number of victims increased.”

“So you’re saying you want to have all of the sexual harassment to yourself......”

“I never said such a thing! Jeez————”

Sefi suddenly tensed up.

Practically at the same time, Kurou ceased smiling and narrowed his eyes as he attentively gazed towards the front.

“......There’s a person. I don’t sense anyone except that one individual.”

“Rou......”

Kurou used his finger to gesture Sefi who wanted to head forward.

From around the corner ten or so meters away from them, the sound of footsteps could be heard.

“Is the person coming out?”

With the sound of the footsteps, out came someone in the corner of their vision————it was the black robed suspicious figure from before. Just like back then, she had a hood draped over her head which concealed her appearance.

The robed arts user drew her sword without uttering a word. The slender blade was enveloped in a faint white light.

Kurou also pulled out his katana and set it into its usual upright stance.

“Rou, today I’ll......”

“Stand down. In these narrow pathways, it’d be hard to engage in battle with two people at once. Furthermore, matches against Swordies are pretty much one-on-ones right?”

“Oh......”

After Sefi faintly muttered, she took a few steps back. Even if she wasn’t going to enter battle, backing off a bit was beneficial to Kurou.

Suddenly, the arts user took action. She hopped up like a spring, instantly closing in ten meters, and then she swung her sword.

“......!”

Kurou unwaveringly parried the arts user’s strike and took advantage of this opportunity to slash the opponent’s shoulder. Following that, he felt the sensation of cutting through flesh.

“What......!?”

Although it was a shallow wound he had suddenly inflicted with a slash after easily deflecting her first strike, it made the arts user unmistakably tremble.

However, the arts user’s bewilderment was only for an instant. Immediately after, she hurriedly readjusted her stance. As she moved her body in a dance-like motion————

Instantly, a six slash strike came speeding at him. The attack which involved the white light enshrouded light blade flashed like a shooting star.

Confronted with these continual attacks that would cut him up into pieces, Kurou had deflected all of them.

That kind of masterful technique resulted in the sound of multiple blade clashes that rang one right after another.

“Guh......!”

The arts user uttered indistinctly and staggeringly backed off. The left side of her abdomen was bleeding.

After Kurou blocked the six strikes, with the next strike, he had stabbed the arts user’s flank.

“Tch, it’s still not deep enough. Well, looks like this matter can’t be resolved so easily.”

Although she had been stabbed in the abdomen, it was absolutely not deep enough to reach her internal organs. If it was a Swordie, they should be good enough to continue battling.

“......”

Although the arts user’s expression couldn’t really be seen, her anxiousness was very noticeable. Perhaps to her, that last six strike attack was a must-kill technique. At any rate, having that maneuver be effortlessly blocked by Kurou and having been counterattacked, it must have been completely unexpected to her.

“There’s nothing to be astonished about right? My Olden Style, simply put the principle behind it is just reading your opponent’s attacks while not letting them be able to read yours. This is the second time you’re battling me so I’m already able to read your sword maneuvers. Of course, even after a hundred battles you’ll still never be able to understand my swordsmanship. Since you were unable to deal with me during our first battle, you should have never appeared in front of me again.”

Kurou wryly smiled.

Swordies didn’t put all their strength into wielding a sword, rather it was being able to read their opponent as they battled. However, Kurou turned the tables by having unpredictable movements————in other words, he used an exceedingly rudimentary theory to derive his unpredictable swordsmanship for combat engagement.

From a Swordie’s perspective, from the gesture of Kurou’s sword and its movements, it would deviate from the trajectory that they predicted and come at them in an unanticipated speed. If their swordsmanship and opportunities to strike had been thrown into utter disorder, then it would even be hard for a Swordie’s physical capabilities to counter Kurou’s swordsmanship.

An intriguing, indiscernible swordsmanship————that was the truth behind Kurou’s blade.

However, based on the words from the arts user, she must have thought there had to be some trick behind it. Kurou’s sword maneuvers were not limitless.

If they were to reach a hundred battles, those maneuvers should become readable right? If it did reach that extent, Kurou’s sword wielding should appear identical to that of other humans in the face of a Swordie’s capabilities.

Nevertheless, it was impossible to battle someone a hundred times, especially if those combats involved real weapons.

“You have lost, arts user.”

However, under a situation where he held supremacy, this line could become the chains to the opponent’s shackles. Kurou knew this because he had personally experienced this on his own body.

Following that, Kurou had remembered.

He had been chained by these same words in a distant past.



“Thou hast already lost, Kurou.”

Sword Saint Hyouka cheerfully stated towards her disciple who disgracefully had his sword knocked to the ground.

Kurou pressed against his hand as he gazed towards the katana that had been sent flying a couple meters away. He tightly bit his lips. He understood he was clearly defeated, but having this mentioned to him made him feel as if he was slayed.

Almost seven years had passed since he became Hyouka’s disciple and embarked on training deep into the mountains with her.

The mountains were solely chosen as a place for training. Except for the small hut he lived in with the Sword Saint, there weren’t any other man-made structures. Nearly every day involved crossing swords with authentic swords by a small stream next to the hut. This sort of thing would repeat itself daily.

When he first started training, the katana was so heavy to him that he couldn’t even lift it up. By the time he was fourteen years of age, he was able to wield the sword as if it was a natural part of his movements.

However, that all amounts to nothing if all he could do was wield it.

“That’s far from adequate Kurou. Just because you can beat Sylphy’s little sister you think you’re something else? My disciple beating that kind of blondie brat is to be expected you idiot.”

Hyouka arrogantly stated. Furthermore, her manner of speaking felt a bit outdated. However, she had always been like this.

Kurou thought she must have been influenced by some sort of contemporary drama as he stared at her.

Hyouka was a young woman in her twenties. Akin to a geisha, she wore a bright cherry colored kimono with the chest region greatly sticking out. Those massive supple mounds of hers were practically half exposed.

Her blue hair extended down her back and that neatly done appearance of hers gave the impression of a cat. At times she was amiable, but sometimes it was as if she was a monster fiercely eying her prey’s flesh. Her expressions were constantly alternating.

Her attitude left a deep impression, but it probably contrasted greatly between person to person. However, certainly no one would ever forget about her upon seeing her once. She was this kind of woman who left a lasting impression on others.

“I’m already tired of being your master or whatever, just how long are you going to make me work Kurou?”

Hyouka hoisted her katana which was the same type as Kurou’s over her shoulder as she spoke. She was one of the few Swordies who utilized a katana. Except, this wasn’t her personalized sword, it was merely an expendable piece of equipment to her.

“......With that being said, it’s very easy. You shouldn’t have anymore trouble as long as we properly work on your offense.”

The Olden Style relied on preventing your opponent from being able to predict you while being able to thoroughly read your opponent’s movements. This kind of prediction did not rely on visualizing those movements or physical capabilities, but rather experience and intuition. Of course, this sort of matter wasn’t facilely attainable.

“Do you think you can master the Olden Style? Although Kurou is far from being capable of doing so, your father’s research was incredible. As his son, it would be a disservice to him if you are only able to become some dabbling sword master.”

“Guh......”

Kurou was completely unable to retort.

The technique known as the Olden Style that was left in his dad’s notebook was pretty much systemized from the compilation of past warriors. It was merely theoretical, grasping this technique was not so simple in reality. At the very least, despite his father understanding the theory, he wasn’t able to master it. Kurou would probably be incapable as well if attempting it alone.

Hyouka, who was very knowledgeable in the ways of the sword, got hold of the Olden Style technique book when she took in this teenage disciple. Precisely because it was under her guidance, although he was not well-versed in it, Kurou did pick up the Olden Style.

“However, you have worked fairly hard so I guess I’ll offer you a bit of praise. Also, I might as well give you this while I’m at it.”

After stating as such, Hyouka chucked something towards Kurou.

“Could this be......the Sword Saint’s successor marking?”

The mark of the Sword Saint was carved into the white bracelet. This kind of thing could only be worn if the successor’s qualifications were approved.

To have this be conferred to a human like Kurou————

“The one who chose you as a disciple was me. Whether or not to let you become the successor also rests on me. This is all my own will, this you should know, my dear Kurou.”

“Master......”

Hyouka freely stuck her sword into the ground.

Following that, she unhesitantly approached Kurou and placed her hand on his shoulder.

“You did pretty good today since you properly dealt with my two hundred and sixty-five or so strikes. If I can state my desire, it would be for you to be able to block over three hundred strikes.”

“......Well, then look forward to the me of tomorrow.”

“Very well.”

Hyouka lightly smiled and gently hugged Kurou.

When they had just met, Hyouka was much taller. However, Kurou was already taller than his master by three centimeters after seven years.

Along with being his master, she was also like a parent who raised him after his father passed away. While her sweet fragrance enveloped him————

Kurou was also already convinced that their days together were coming to an end.



During that brief period, Kurou recalled some irrelevant matters.

Even within that time frame, Kurou’s body unwittingly began to move.

“Flames, go forth!”

Accompanying that chant-like phrase, a flame snake was launched.

That kind of thing was no longer an issue for Kurou anymore.

The flame snake was immensely powerful. If he had taken a direct hit then perhaps he would be dead.

Nevertheless, presently he was able to respond appropriately. He had wavered in the previous battle against this mystic art technique that he had no knowledge of————

However, dealing with it wasn’t challenging for him anymore as long as he kept focused and prepared himself.

Gathering energy for the mystic art and releasing the flame snake consumed more time than taking action with a sword. Hence, in terms of evading————it wasn’t quite an exacting task.

In one breath, Kurou dodged the flame and took off. In a sweeping motion, he swung the sword at the arts user’s face.

“Guh......!”

The arts user mustered all her effort in backing away and evaded his sword————however, the blade slightly grazed the hood. The hood, which had been obstructing her appearance, was now lifted up over her back.

The face behind the hood was now exposed.

Wearing those glasses, her face gave off a gentle impression. Her pigtails were also stuffed within the hood.

It was————

“Neena!?”

Sefi exclaimed in shock.

It was understandable for her to be that astonished. As one of the supporters who was constantly by Sefi’s side, although she appeared to be well-behaved, she unexpectedly turned out to be the type to say whatever she wanted. She was somewhat of a peculiar girl. For the arts user to be her, Sefi could never have imagined such a scenario.

On the other hand, Kurou kept his cool. That was because he had already figured that the criminal was of course someone within the academy. In this aspect, Kurou was different from the uncontentious Sefi.

“N-Neena, why are you......!”

“I’m very sorry, but no matter how I apologize it’s going to come off a bit strange. Yes, the person who wants to kill you is me because that is my objective.”

“H-Hold on a sec, what’s with this all of a sudden! Your objective......what do you mean by that!?”

Confronted with Sefi’s interrogation, Neena tightly bit her lips and didn’t respond.

While facing her, she only took off her glasses. Her eyes that were hidden behind the lens were————

“Huh, red eyes......?”

Sefi opened her eyes in shock.

This time, even Kurou was a bit astounded. Swordies had numerous eye colors, however he had never seen glimmering, shining red eyes before.

“Neena, are you a......”

“So you know about it. Looks like it’s still being circulated around within Sefi-sama’s household. That’s truly great. I was worried what I would do if you had said you had no clue.”

Neena revealed a sinister smile.

“We are the descendants of the people you guys shoved into hell. If you had said you were uninformed of this matter......then even cutting you up into eight chunks wouldn’t do justice.”

“Neena......”

“For the sake of my mission, I snuck into the academy. However, I definitely wasn’t appalled by you. Sefi-sama, you truly treated me well. If you weren’t the princess of the four generals......”

Neena removed her robe. Underneath was a tightly fitted black suit.

“The commotion had already expanded and so I thought my opportunity had arrived. However, I did not expect to be exposed. It’s quite regrettable that I wasn’t able to kill Sefi-sama.”

Despite not being asked, Neena still revealed these matters.

Although Kurou was stunned, he still inquired from Neena.

“So your target was Sefi after all. You are also the one who killed Freya and Migune right?”

“Of course it was me, but that was only a matter of convenience.”

Neena did not pause at all.

“Migune-san and Freya-san would head out towards the Outer Human Region every night and engage in tsujigiri. I encountered them by chance so that’s how I know of it. Regarding the details behind this situation, a Sabers member like you should have a greater understanding of it am I right?”

“So the criminals in those incidents were Freya and Migune......? Why would they carry out such a thing?”

“Isn’t it just because they wanted real combat training? However, since their killings only involved gangster-like punks, perhaps they even pretended to be heroes of justice.”

“However, murdering people is never the right course of action.”

Indeed, the victims of the tsujigiri incident were not ordinary people. They were people who were going to be arrested anyways if they weren’t slayed during those tsujigiri incidents.

“Yeah, but I don’t care about the victims to those tsujigiri incidents. I just can’t forgive those who use their sword in such senseless matters.”

“......So that’s why you killed both of them?”

What Freya and Migune did was certainly not to be commended, rather it was illegal. However, what Neena did was basically the same so nothing changed in the end.

“No, wait a sec. Your goal is Sefi right? You just said it was due to ‘convenience’, but what about the assault incident that arose due to this? That would make it burdensome for you to take action. With this excessive matter, it must have been difficult to reach your target. Isn’t this just putting the cart before the horse?”

“That would be peachy as well wouldn’t it?”

Neena wryly smiled as she elatedly spoke.

“For us, we don’t hesitate to take action for any reason. If slaughtering Sefi-sama becomes harder to do, then it’d be much more exciting overcoming those hardships to reach our goal.”

“You......”

Kurou was dumbstruck as he attentively gazed towards Neena’s face.

“However, since I failed this time, I can’t regard myself as being right. How regrettable, it’s just like Kurou-san said, I can’t win in this case.”

A strange pulsing sound echoed near Neena’s sword.

Kurou instantly ran towards Sefi and carried her body, protecting her in the process.

“Such sound judgment.”

The flame snake wrapped around the sword————and suddenly exploded with flames scattering in all directions.

Following that, Kurou’s vision became clouded in red. His body was also being scorched by the flame’s intense heat.

Kurou couldn’t help but close his eyes, but in the instant he opened his eyes afterwards,

“......Tch, what’s going on.”

Kurou clicked his tongue.

The place where Neena was standing had already violently erupted into a fire. The narrow pathways had been completely blocked by the flames and Neena’s figure was nowhere to be seen.

“We let her escape again. Curses......aren’t we about to be eliminated by Neena?”

Kurou surveyed his surroundings. Not only was he unable to find a fire extinguisher, the sprinkler system was also unresponsive. The flames on the other hand were burning more intensely without any indication of dying out.

“We have no choice, let’s go around that way. Sefi, follow me. As things stand, we no longer know who to trust anymore.”

It was clear from Neena’s words that she was undoubtedly part of a certain organization. Furthermore, the people that the organization dispatched to the academy might not just consist of her. That girl carelessly held affable feelings towards Sefi and could also be considered as a traitor amongst her group————but this was no laughing matter.

“Jeez, what’s wrong with her. In the end, I still don’t even know how she’s able to use mystic arts.”

“Ah, about that......she might be......”

“Hmm?”

Sefi took a glance at the flames, lowering her gaze as she pondered.

After a brief pause, Sefi stated the following.

“Those red eyes......I think Neena is probably......a Blaze.”



Neena seemed to be purposefully taking a meandering route when sprinting through the arena.

Of course, this was in order to shake off Kurou’s pursuit so she was forced to take a more indirect route. Furthermore, since there was a gap between her physical capabilities and that of Kurou’s who was a human, in all likelihood he won’t be able to catch up.

Although she was reluctant, she did accept the truth. Setting aside the fact she couldn’t overcome him with her sword, she was unable to prevail even with the addition of mystic arts.

She had failed her mission, thus it came to an end. Even with her true identity being compromised during the course of the mission, as long as the objective was achieved then it’d be fine. However, thinking along those lines was way too naive.

“If I can escape now, then this mission isn’t a complete loss.”

Neena muttered to herself.

The pathways to the arena were in complete disarray. There were plenty of other people scurrying around just like Neena.

Even if it was just a lone person murdered, the conduct of these Swordies who were running around in a frenzy was quite uncalled for. Whatever happened to these people who made a fool out of the humans seventy years ago?

Neena found the flight of stairs that was her destination. There were matters that she had to attend to up there.

At the top was the lowest section of the spectator stands that were organized in a stepwise fashion.

The students or any academy related individuals should have all been here to spectate the tournament. However, currently there were no other people present. It seemed that everyone sought refuge.

“Neena, are you hurt?”

“......Onee-sama!”

A dark figure silently appeared by Neena’s side.

She was also wearing a robe like Neena did. Grasped in her hand was an incredulous longsword and scabbard.

“I’ve made you wait Onee-sama. I’m not hurt at all, but.......”

“You weren’t able to kill Sefi, however I can’t blame you for failing. For now, let’s head back first. Plus, I’m finished with my work over here.”

With that said, the robed girl pointed to the nearby seats. Over there was a girl laying down. Seeing as her voluptuous breasts were still undulating, it seemed she was only knocked out.

“Although this task doesn’t really matter to us, I guess it doesn’t hurt to show a bit of sympathy for them.”

“Yes Onee-sama. Well then, let me carry that girl. Just in case, it’d probably be better if Onee-sama and I split up————”

Neena stopped speaking at this point.

The robed girl standing in front of Neena ————no wait, something came charging over across from them from the top of the stepwise spectator stands,.

There was clearly killing intent within the sword————

“Onee-sama!”

Neena, who wanted to protect her, was already too late.

That certain individual who charged over swung their sword downwards. That one strike targeted the robed girl’s back————

“O-Onee-sama, Onee-sama......!”

“Darn, I guess I missed.”

The boy’s calm and collected manner of speech distinctly contrasted with the panic-stricken Neena. Wait, Neena had met this boy before.

“I only managed to slice the robe? However, that’s already more than adequate. From the gash in the robe, I caught a glance of a familiar uniform.”

“Y-You are......”

That’s right, Neena recalled, this guy’s name was Lars.

He was the male Swordie that transferred over here with the human. He was also known as the son of one of the four generals.

Although he was a household member of the four generals, they weren’t very attentive of him since he wasn’t one of their targeted individuals.

“I took a peek at Kurou’s battle with that kid. Since she suddenly escaped, I wondered where she was heading to. Following that I just tailed her from behind. Jeez, who would have thought you’d end up in this kind of place to meet someone as prestigious as her. Actually, I was quite flabbergasted myself.”

“Just shrewdly handling the situation like you always do, Lars.”

The robed girl turned around and removed the robe that had a slit running diagonally down its back.

The blue hair going down to her shoulders along with her black suit and skimpy miniskirt, even with this kind of getup it greatly suited her. It was an authentic Sabers uniform.

“Aren’t you a bit simple-minded, or were you not vigilant of your surroundings? Which one is it, Director?”

“Which one is it......”

Manaka————the director of the Sabers, sinisterly smiled.

“Nevertheless, Lars is really quite frightening. Suddenly attacking from behind, it’s to be expected from the guy known to possess a demonic swordsmanship.”

“No no, this demon essence or whatever you call it is probably over exaggerated. It’s merely an attack from behind by a Swordie who is a bit lacking in etiquette.”

Demonic essence————this saying, Neena had also heard about it.

Although there were some male Swordies who rivaled female Swordies when it came to physical capabilities and swordsmanship techniques, it was said that the swords of those men were lodged with a demonic essence. Specifically, this referred to the prohibited use of backside attacks during a one-on-one fight among Swordies, slaughtering the defenseless, and even utilizing long range weapons. Furthermore, the most chilling aspect about it was————

“Being intoxicated with blood, making others suffer, committing murder, favoring these things above all else......is this person really like that Onee-sama?”

“The swords of the powerful Swordie males being infused with a demonic essence————I don’t buy that kind of silly nonsense.”

Manaka stated as she shrugged.

“However, I feel that this boy————Lars’s sword is indeed embedded with a demonic essence.”

“Goodness gracious, no matter who it is they all say approximately the same sort of thing.”

Although Manaka’s words were meant to provoke him, Lars responded in a calm manner.

Lars didn’t affirm it or deny it. Even Manaka looked at him with a dreaded expression.

“Well, anything works for me at the moment. Compared to this, you should probably explain yourself a bit Director. What in the world is going on?”

“If you want to change the topic, then please be a bit more clever. However, there’s actually no real significance behind gossiping over your demonic essence.”

Manaka gripped the hilt of her longsword tightly.

“It’s just as you’ve witnessed and detected Lars. The criminal who carried out the attacks against the students is Neena over here and the person manipulating things behind the scenes would be me.”

“How strange.”

Lars interrupted immediately.

“You are Manaka, one of the Seven Swords. The scope of things is way too small for this incident to involve someone as significant as you. Even if she’s the princess of the four generals, if it’s just killing Sefi, then having you personally come out is a bit unusual isn’t it?”

“That’s because the numbers of my group is insufficient. Everyone has to share the responsibility even if it’s just some diminutive task. Due to this cumbersome yet convenient Seven Swords standing, I’m able to do numerous things. Furthermore, even now I need to begin attending to some trivial matters.”

Manaka wryly smiled as she stated. Following her iai strike, she pulled out her sword in one swift motion. Anyone who were to witness her possessing such an elongated scabbard for a blade as short as that would probably be taken aback by this.

However, whether it was Neena or Lars, neither felt surprised at all.

“Lars, you leisurely came to this place. However, from the moment you saw me, you left me no choice but to kill you!”

“......!”

Lars retrieved his sword and blocked Manaka’s strike after she instantaneously closed in.

The blades of the two clashed. The rippling wave resulting from this shook the air as it dispersed in all directions.

After the wave dissipated, Manaka and Lars both backed off to their respective sides as they separated.

“Very excellent reaction time Lars.”

“As to be expected of the Sword General. If I was able to dispose of you based on that last surprise attack, that’d be too easy.”

Manaka’s sword was shrouded in a white light————and her eyes were flickering with a red glint.

On the other hand, Lars’s sword seemed to be emitting a blackish haze.

“Regardless if it’s red or white, they both seem quite vivid Director.”

“That applies to you as well. I believe it was called the Beast Slayer? It’s been a long time but that sword is still as ominous as always.”

Lars’s personalized sword seemed to be called the Beast Slayer. It was particularly long and although it wasn’t like Sefi’s Starbreaker, it was also pretty thick and heavy. Compared to its sharpness, this type of sword seemed to be focused more on sturdiness.

“The hue of my light blade is a tad different from other Swordies, but it’s not ominous at all. It has nothing to do with any demonic essence or whatever.”

Lars calmly asserted.

Although Neena firmly believed that the color of the Beast Slayer’s blade symbolized Lars’s demonic essence, he didn’t believe that was the case.

Forget about the demonic essence for now, Lars was not in the least inferior to females when it came to strength and agility. If that wasn’t the case, that heavy sword would have had no chance to absorb Manaka’s strike.

“However, red pupils? So Manaka is a Blaze after all.”

Lars attentively gazed at Manaka’s red eyes.

“You know the situation regarding the Blazes? That’s perfect.”

“Rather, it’d be more accurate to say that I just remembered. Although, I had considered this as a possibility after hearing about the mystic arts. The Blazes————were forgotten about over time. So you lamentable traitors have gathered together?”

“You bastard!”

Neena became unwittingly agitated as she placed her hand on the hilt of her sword————

“Please stop at once Neena!”

“......Y-Yes.”

Due to Manaka’s words, Neena returned to her collected state. Indeed, to waver from being incited to this extent really showed the disgrace the Blaze soldiers held.

“What Lars said isn’t wrong. Our existence had already been forgotten about. Even these red eyes are————”

“I’m not too familiar with the matter regarding the Blazes. However, to be able to change the color of those red pupils is really quite horrifying.”

“Only the younger generation can change their eye color at will. The survivors of the Great War along with my parents, that generation will always have red eyes.”

Manaka’s eyes would normally be close to a halcyon green color and Neena’s color on the other hand was brown. Although they could alter their colors at will, red was their original color.

“Even if we can do this sort of thing, it’s nothing to brag about. Overall I feel like we are forced to conceal this otherwise we’d be mocked over this genetic factor.”

Neena clenched her fists.

“Indeed, us Blazes had no choice but to conceal ourselves among the people————”

Neena slipped into the academy with forged personal records and falsely spoke about past dealings with her friends. Even matters regarding her family had to be stalled off through deceit.

Blazes————even among Swordies, Blazes were an exceptionally battle adept race.

They weren’t just sticklers for swords, they were even proficient in mystic arts. It was said that at the time of the Great War, they were the ones who utilized these mystic arts that could destroy the enemy field guns and tanks.

Seeing those red-eyed Blazes who frequently fought on the frontlines of the Swordies, it must have been a scary scene for the human soldiers.

However, that battle brought about their demise. Moreover, around the time when the Swordie leaders consolidated power within Japan————the Blazes were eliminated.

The Blazes were overly powerful. Faced with the end of the war, the Blazes were a threat to the Swordies who wanted to establish a new peaceful society. And once they heard the proclamation of the four generals————

The Blazes thirsted for battle. They were the traitors who wanted to disrupt the peace among the Swordies.

Although it was a fabricated accusation with no basis supporting it, the cries of the Blazes were easily brushed aside due to the stark inferiority in numbers.

Back when the Swordies all resided within Swordia, the Blazes were a mercenary group that didn’t belong to any particular nation. However, the world didn’t advocate for repeated warring. Although their combat strength was incredible which lead to various nations employing them, the thirst for battle within this mercenary group instilled fear.

Precisely because of this, the four generals’ calling for the removal of the Blazes went without a hitch.

Faced with a pre-emptive strike, practically all of the Blaze leaders were obliterated. Furthermore, the remaining combatants were unable to even stage a resistance with their fragmented numbers. Each time they were routed. It couldn’t even be called a war, it was pretty much just a slaughter.

The number of Blazes became strikingly few. In the end, they gave up resisting.

Despite avoiding the death sentence, the remaining Blazes were kept apart from society since they were latent criminals with their bellicose nature.

With the limitations on the districts they lived in, the relationship between Swordies and Blazes were practically severed. For the sake of molding their attitude to be more obedient, they put together a correctional course in the school primarily used by Blazes. Plus, the Swordies especially wanted to restrict them from using swords.

They weren’t even allowed to enroll in the military or become part of the police force. They were going to prevent giving the Blazes a chance to battle at all costs.

It didn’t matter if it was glory, swords, or battle, the Blazes were deprived from all of it. They were only left with their frustrated lives as a result of the world after the war.

Following that, even their existence itself was forgotten————

“......Well, it’s not like I’m unsympathetic towards the mighty Blazes but they couldn’t possibly be thinking about revenge just recently right?”

Lars refrained from speaking in an arrogant manner, he simply felt this was inconceivable.

“It was probably the four generals who declared the elimination of the Blazes after the war. Basically that’d be mine and Sefi’s grandfathers. Hasn’t it already been sixty years since then? Of course, setting aside the Blazes of that time period for now, but for Manaka, isn’t this an extremely ancient topic?”

“The survivors at that time are no longer with us anymore. After hearing about the whining and hatred towards the four generals and about the obliteration of our race from the grannies who know this matter intimately, we were pretty much brainwashed. The diminishing of our hatred doesn’t necessarily occur with the passage of time. Having this matter passed down is very possible.”

In response to Manaka’s statement, Neena slowly nodded. Neena’s grandmother was one of the people who ferociously attacked at the frontlines during the Great War. After the war concluded, not only were her contributions unrecognized, she was also freely discarded as if she was trash. When it came to talking about the cleansing of their race, her normally amiable grandmother became all demon-like, sending the young Neena trembling in fear.

“Furthermore, even though the cleansing had already ended, the difference in our treatment still persists. Like Neena over here, if we didn’t give a fake school record, there would be no way she’d be permitted in the Sword Academy. If word got out that a Blaze was holding a sword, she’d be imprisoned for many years.”

“Ah, I see I see.”

Lars enthusiastically nodded and gently waved the Beast Slayer a bit.

“Our goal is in accordance with getting revenge for the past and wiping out of the current state of affairs. With this, we had specially forged these school records to let Blaze members sneak in from all over the place. However, for the students it’s not a big deal, but to actually not engage in a background check for one of the Seven Swords is really quite laughable.”

“The Swordie government has already been around for too long. No matter what kind of government it is, there will always be the day that it becomes corrupted.”

“I’ll advise my parents.”

“That won’t be possible since you’ll die right here......”

An inauspicious smile surfaced on Manaka’s face————following that, she slowly approached Lars.

The air rumbled. The overwhelming light force from Manaka’s entire body was increasing steadily.

This type of force would probably even drive a Swordie unconscious let alone a human.

Confronted with her true power, Neena, who looked up to her as an older sister————was left trembling.



Manaka sighed within herself. Indeed, she could not treat him as just a child anymore.

Up until now, Manaka had been doing her utmost to suppress her light force while she was with the Sabers. However, she was presently unleashing her light entirely.

A Swordie’s light surfaces the moment they are born. Thenceforth, they are able to harness it with training and amplify it through a refining process. Manaka possessed this innate powerful light force and after much bitter training, she was able to control the light regarded as the “strongest among the seven”.

Without needing to mention humans, even Swordies would probably have a strenuous time holding a sword upright in the face of Manaka’s fully emitted light.

Nevertheless, Lars maintained his cool when confronted with Manaka’s light force.

However, up to this it was still what he had come to expect from Manaka. Following that————

Manaka took action without any warning.

With her blinding speed, she swung the sword downwards from over her head. Lars calmly wielded the Beast Slayer and intercepted her attack from the front. A rippling wave that jolted the air once again dispersed across. He was not in the least astonished when confronted with the speed Manaka displayed. Rather, he collectedly used his swordsmanship to deflect away the attack. No wonder he was a curious being.

Manaka did not cease as she continuously attacked.

“Ugh!”

However, Lars’s defending was done with great difficulty. Manaka’s sword traveled as if it was at the speed of light. A stiff staccato could be heard every time their swords met. The white radiance also cut through the black haze of the Beast Slayer.

Known as the Dancer————it was Manaka’s personalized sword. The length was pretty average, but the blade was very thin. It was akin to the thinness of a sheet of paper. With just the augmentation of the light blade, you would think it sounded like glass breaking when their swords collided.

“Guh......!”

After Lars had forcefully repelled Manaka’s sword, he decided to go for some separation.

“Fufu, you won’t be able to win if you’re just defending Lars.”

Due to the acute angles at which her sword maneuvers struck, Manaka’s Dancer would never break regardless of how their blades crossed. In some ways, it resembled the Olden Style utilized by Kurou.

“As expected of Onee-sama! You’re so strong!”

“Hey, you over there, your attitude seems to have changed.”

Lars still kept his eyes on Manaka as he calmly snarked.

Neena was a child who fervently worshipped Manaka’s sword. Clearly they weren’t siblings, yet she still referred to her as “Onee-sama”. Manaka on the other hand did not reveal any signs of abhorrence and was instead very fond of her.

“However, you’re still as fast as always Director. I’m completely unable to catch up.”

“Putting on an act or messing around wouldn’t result in such fluid wielding of the sword.”

Manaka’s sword was much lighter compared to Lars’s or Sefi’s swords. Being lighter only resulted in increased agility. Although there was a trade off in power, as long as she struck the opponent’s weak points then she would be able to remedy the issue. Of course, that kind of technique was already refined by Manaka ages ago.

“Flames, go forth!”

It was as if the dragon-shaped flame sprayed out of the blade of the Dancer. Immediately after, the dragon charged at Lars with remarkable speed.

Without even a second to be astonished, Lars pedaled off the ground with a ton of force to hop away. The dragon was overly quick and enormous. Had he reacted any slower then he wouldn’t have been able to avoid it. Passing by Lars’s body was the giant dragon that vigorously dashed towards the spectator stands. Following that, it exploded in a ball of flames.

“Guh, ah, hot......!”

The embers from the flame landed on Lars’s uniform so he hurriedly took it off. Not too long after, that suit completely caught on fire, incinerating it into a pile of ashes.

“Ah, that’s quite dangerous! What the heck, that child’s was clearly a snake but this time it’s a dragon. I definitely haven’t done anything to deserve a burning execution......”

“You sure have guts. The power of the mystic arts is entirely reliant on one’s light capacity. It’s just as you’ve known, my light is quite strong which means the power of the dragon isn’t the same.”

“It’s precisely as she stated. Onee-sama’s dragon is able to roast any guy. Quit struggling already and just let her partially roast you————e-eh?”

Neena, who let the success get to her, paused halfway through her statement. Manaka on the other hand instantly understood why. It was because the left cuff of Lars’s shirt was incinerated by the flames, revealing something that had been hidden.

“The Sword Saint’s......successor mark.......?”

“Ah, so you’ve noticed. Fortunately I’m quite cautious and tried my best to keep this from being spotted.”

After Lars half jokingly finished speaking, he knocked against the bracelet on his left arm.

“That reminds me, I forget to tell you Neena. Lars is also my sister’s————the Sword Saint’s disciple.”

“Eh? Isn’t the Sword Saint’s only disciple that reprehensible human?”

“You seem to have even mixed Kurou-kun into this. At the time it was an issue that caused quite a stir. A kid with a demonic essence that no one would ever want to accept as their disciple was taken in by the Sword Saint......”

Once Manaka heard this, even she was stupefied.

Although it was fine to accept a disciple, but to specially select a problematic child————

“I’m perplexed by my sister as well. That’s because whenever she spots someone weird, she always wants to place them by her side. However, after she accepted this kid with a demonic essence, she immediately went on to accept a human child as a disciple. It nonstop became someone else’s problem. Lars, it’s really quite pitiful.”

“However, I was absolutely jubilant over this. Having another disciple who was the same age as me, it truly was delightful. If it was just me and that unrestrained master of mine residing in the mountains.......don’t even get me started.”

Indeed, Lars never wanted to drift apart from Kurou.

More accurately, he practiced together with Kurou who had honed his bizarre swordsmanship based on the Olden Style. That allowed Lars, who was exceptionally strong for a guy, to take his training to the next step. Manaka was very knowledgeable of this.

Precisely because of this, he was still able to put up a fight against one of the Seven Swords even though it wasn’t quite enough.

“Darn, I shouldn’t be conversing like this all day. It’s time to put an end to this. I also have to take that girl back with me.”

Manaka took a peek at the girl who was laid down on the spectator stands————Hinako.

“Oh, so that means the Blazes are in cahoots with the Sun Cult?”

“Didn’t I just mention this? We were originally a rare race. The Sun Cult on the other hand consists only of humans. To us, there is some exploitative value in them.”

“Rounding up people......could it be, you guys are plotting a military coup?”

“I’ve already said that the time for chatting has ended. Well, if it’s just this then I suppose I can answer. It’s just as you stated. The Swordie government that has lasted till now will give rise to the people who have lain dormant in the darkness throughout history————us Blazes.”

Manaka’s words were spoken without an ounce of doubt. She wasn’t kidding around nor was she bluffing.

“Director, are you serious? Take a step back for a moment, you do know your enemy is the government of the entire country right? Besides the Blazes being somewhat powerful, there isn’t really any other distinguishing characteristics. You guys probably have no chance to succeed.”

“Isn’t that fine as well?”

Manaka elatedly laughed like a child.

“I don’t consider myself to be very normal, I also believe the Blaze’s battle capabilities cannot be dealt with. Truthfully speaking, wiping out the Blazes after the Great War was understandable.”

“However, eliminating and denying the Blaze’s existence are two separate matters.”

“Alright Lars, offer up your blood, accept our letter of challenge!”

Manaka raised the Dancer, seemingly sliding it to her side. Despite being on the spectator stands which were hard to freely move around, she did not appear to be hindered in her movements in any way.

“No way————!”

Just then, Lars’s face showed signs of nervousness for the first time.

Manaka’s seemingly weightless movements————suddenly changed.

“Seven figures————!”

In front of Lars, who opened his eyes wide in shock, appeared seven Manakas.

Manaka forcefully pedaled off the ground. As she ripped through the air, she continued to sprint on over.

Due to her high speed shifts in movement, afterimages were created. This absurdity was accomplished by the one acclaimed as one of the monstrous Seven Swords————Manaka.

Lars held his sword as such and traced Manaka’s movements with his eyes. Although it was quite impressive that he was able to capture the movements of the seven figures, he was already approaching his limits.

The seven Manakas appeared to be colliding together as they all engaged in a melee against Lars.

“Goodbye Lars.”

“......!”

Who knows how many strikes Manaka’s sword unleashed. Lars on the other hand let out an inaudible gasp.

The seven figures traveled past Lars in a violent gale————following that, those clones dissipated akin to a vanishing cloud and Manaka, who had been fiercely wielding the sword in her right hand, quietly stopped in her tracks.

Lars was slashed all the way from his right shoulder to below his chest and all the way to his left leg. His blood came pouring out.

“Chaos Dancer————”

Manaka solemnly declared as she put away her sword.

Through her overwhelming light force, she attained extreme speeds. With that, her fluid movements allowed her to replicate seven figures of herself.

The seven figures unleashed countless attacks in unison————which was known as the Chaos Dancer.

Lars had seen something like that during his training, but this was the first time he had to take the brunt of the attack head on.

Despite his reflexively fast parrying of the majority of the attacks with the Beast Slayer, he wasn’t able to defend from all of them.

Lars kneeled down from where he was and pressed against his chest that was covered in blood. Although this injury wouldn’t become a cause for death presently, there was no guarantee he would live if left unattended.

“As expected of my sister’s disciple. Having been engulfed by the Chaos Dancer, you only suffered an injury to this extent. Looks like even without my sister here, you have not let the training go to waste.”

“Chatting once again already Director? It’s just as you see, I’m still alive.”

“You needn’t overexert yourself Lars. I don’t like watching people suffer so now I shall free you.”

“It seems I’m the only one who is about to die. That’s not too bad right?”

Lars stared into Manaka’s eyes as he spoke.

The one who was stunned at this line was Neena. Regardless if it was Manaka or Lars, their fixated gazes did not even shift one millimeter.

“No can do, you want the successor mark to be placed solely on me?”

Kurou leisurely walked over in their direction and stopped as he reached where Lars was.

“A guy who has the same successor mark as me better not be accepting death. You’re not weak like I am. Liven up a bit.”

“I had hoped you’d comfort me a little......”

Lars faintly muttered as he smiled.

Normally they did not seem to have a very tight-knit bond, but there weren’t any strains between the two either.

The two guys who received her sister’s mentoring......

Kurou and Lars are truly quite admirable————Manaka thought to herself.



There were multiple figures on the spectator stands of the arena.

Kurou kept a vigilant watch of his surroundings.

Lars’s body was stained with blood as he kneeled on the ground.

Neena on the other hand, having not wiped off the blood dripping from the wound Kurou had dealt to her not too long ago, kept a wakeful watch on Kurou.

The one who fainted————or rather, the one leisurely sleeping away was Hinako.

Moreover————

“You’ve finally showed up Kurou-kun. I’m actually very thankful that you found our location here.”

“I spent the majority of my time aimlessly running around. However————fortunately it was easy to recognize the light of someone I was well acquainted with.”

Since he was unable to sense the force Manaka emitted, then it was obvious that she had already arrived at the spectator stands.

“Yeah......it’s annoying how there’s something in my body that I can’t completely control.”

“Everyone probably has something similar to that. Whenever I see Sefi, even I get these feelings that are uncontrollable.”

“Hold on! Be a little more tactful about it! At least make it sound more attractive!”

Immediately after Kurou spoke, Sefi hurriedly began to snark at him. However, the issue was probably just in the wording of it.

“Ah haha. No matter when, Kurou-kun always stays true to himself.”

“If I can’t maintain my usual self at a time like this, then it’d be impossible for me to stand here before you.”

Manaka’s eyes were glowing red just like Neena’s.

Up until he arrived here, he had already heard about the Blazes from Sefi. By combining all the facts, he was able to deduce Manaka’s motive.

Could this person be......

Kurou’s train of thought was right on the money.

Although he had come here seeking Manaka’s protection, the situation had developed in an exceedingly unfathomable way.

Despite this, Kurou wouldn’t waver from this even though what he saw in front of him was beyond his imagination. This was the self-confidence he had acquired from his grueling training.

Kurou’s piercing glare was fixed on Manaka————

At this moment, Manaka sprung up like an arrow.

“Kurou-kun!”

“Manaka!”

Manaka’s Dancer turned into countless strikes of light.

In face of that overwhelming light, Kurou practically unwittingly drew his sword.

A metallic ear piercing clash sounded. Immediately after, the friction even produced sparks.

Manaka’s sword was akin to a machine gun as it repeatedly attacked nonstop. However, they were all parried away by Kurou’s Olden Style.

As expected, she was in a class of her own compared to Neena————Kurou deflected away Manaka’s attack as he was under pressure once again due to the powers of the Seven Swords.

He didn’t feel stressed in the least bit from that sudden exchange.

Manaka was a Blaze and there was the fear that she was the one manipulating the entire situation from behind the scenes. He trusted her and even handed over Hinako who was now taken away————was she planning on using her? Or did she plan on returning her to the Sun Cult? Furthermore, just when did she realize that Kurou and Lars had to be eliminated as well?

Without a doubt, the Sword General was Kurou’s enemy.

Regardless of her being his master’s sister or his boss, Kurou would instantly be slayed if he were to deliberate over this kind of predicament. You will never find anyone who contemplates over these excessive thoughts when their life hanged in the balance against the opponent.

The wirewalking-esque attacking and defending persisted———actually, only Kurou was defending in this one-sided attack by Manaka.

With a battle like this, the combat would end as soon as Kurou exhausted all his strength.

However, carelessly pulling away was also a huge danger. Manaka was most likely an arts user as well. Having experienced the numerous flame attacks dished out by Neena, he already understood the battle style of an arts user.

Neena’s mystic arts required a slight charge up time to activate. This charging time resulted in a huge opening and as a result, if there was no separation then it would be cumbersome to unleash a mystic art. As long as he closed the distance by attacking in this fashion, there would be no time for the opponent to store power, rendering them hard pressed to activate a mystic art.

If Manaka was able to activate her mystic arts at this close of a distance without building up power, then Kurou’s chances of winning would be practically zero. Thus, he did not contemplate over this matter.

“Guh!”

Accompanying that sound, Kurou immediately felt a burning sensation on his shoulders.

It was because he was unable to fully avoid Manaka’s blade which lead to his left shoulder being slashed. Had he not partially evaded her blade, he might have lost his entire left arm. Even until now, he had dreaded being engulfed by a Swordie’s blade.

“You’re still far from good enough Kurou-kun!”

“Guah......!”

The pain from his shoulder did not even have enough time to soak in.

There was an immediate change during the clash of swords between Kurou and Manaka.

Although Manaka’s blade was a tad small, it had actually pierced through Kurou’s body.

As he mustered all his effort in dodging her sword, there was absolutely no window for him to even counterattack.

Seemingly as if it was reducing his life, he pushed his limits as he fought. At every instance, he would experience a body shattering sensation.

Kurou’s maximum currently culminated in astonishing speeds. He instantly closed in————

“Oh jeez, you are really getting on my nerves! So annoying!”

Manaka stated as such. She raised the Dancer and jumped back a few meters.

Kurou did not negligently perform a parlous maneuver such as closing the distance. Although he really feared mystic arts, he wasn’t one of those amateurs who would recklessly approach his opponent.

“Haa haa......”

Kurou adjusted his breathing as he confirmed the wound on his shoulder. It was a pretty firm strike and there were numerous lacerations all over his body.

Although they were minor wounds, those injuries actually dampened his physical capabilities, resulting in his sword becoming sluggish.

With a swordsman of Manaka’s level as an opponent, even the slightest wavering would certainly result in death.

“Kurou, the Director will unleash a massive flame dragon attack. If you’re not careful, you’ll be charred in an instant.”

“I appreciate the advice. However Lars, you should lay down.”

Although he mentioned as such, Kurou clearly understood that he could not permit him to do that. Despite going against a sword wielded by one of the Seven Swords, there was no clue as to when he might get caught up in the battle. At the very least, Manaka was probably unconcerned about Lars’s life.

“Kurou-kun, how about I give you a piece of advice? Currently, it seems Sefi can’t resist the urge to attack you.”

“Uh.”

Kurou unawarely turned around. So that was it, Sefi’s face was blushing entirely as she wielded the Starbreaker in embarrassment.

“O-Of course not. Even I would wait for an opportune time arises to attack you!”

“So you’ll come attacking when the time is right!?”

Was she getting excited over Kurou’s sword again? He could not bear to take more attacks under these circumstances. Certainly a human would be unable to withstand this courtship of death.

“Being a Swordie is demanding. But in the end, we Blazes are Swordies as well. Thus, it’s easy to relate to this————it’s difficult to control the impulse to love swords.”

“What, you’re also captivated by me?”

“What do you mean by ‘also’......”

“It’d be fine if we set this trifling issue aside right?”

Manaka elatedly spoke to Sefi who was completely sullen.

“Although it’s regrettable, my heart is also set on someone. That person was very, very strong. My heart had always been captivated by her sword. Kurou-kun, do you know who I’m talking about?”

“......”

Kurou offered no response. Rather, he waited for Manaka to continue.

“Sword Saint Hyouka————Kurou-kun, it is my sister which you have killed.”

“Eh......? Killed......?”

The one who blankly stared on as they muttered wasn’t Kurou, but rather Sefi.

“From the lack of a reaction, Lars knows about it too I see. Actually, perhaps you two were accomplices?”

“.......Did I just hear the Director reasoning to herself aloud once again?”

After glancing at Lars, Manaka tapped her finger against her forehead.

“That wound on Kurou-kun’s forehead......I had detected it ever since you came down from the mountains. That wound was dealt by my sister wasn’t it?”

“Even if that is the case, what’s so strange about it? Since I’ve constantly used real swords to train with my master, receiving one or two wounds in the process isn’t that out of the ordinary.”

Kurou attentively gazed at Manaka’s red eyes as he candidly stated.

“That wound isn’t just an ordinary wound. My eyes have not yet deteriorated. Every Swordie utilizes a personalized sword. Kurou-kun’s wound was most likely dealt to him by my sister’s personalized sword, the Eternal Horizon. Do you understand what I’m getting at? Don’t even deny it.”

Kurou was also informed of his master’s personalized sword, the Eternal Horizon.

Upon first glance, there was nothing particular to say about it. It was merely a single-edged katana. As for its specs, even the Starbreaker and Dancer possessed more offensive power. However, the Sword Saint’s personalized sword seemed to be one of the few renowned swords that were forged in her birthplace. Also, they had previously heard that no other swords were able to endure a full power slash by the Sword Saint.

Furthermore, when the Sword Saint utilized her personalized sword, it was going to be a life or death deciding fight. Only when she would be willing to risk her life in battle would she ever wield her personalized sword. This matter was only known by those close to the Sword Saint.

“I had always attentively watched my sister. I only had my eyes set on her. As a result, I have come to understand the kind of wound that sword can generate and the type of wound that would result from her going for the kill. Kurou-kun, you unleashed your true powers when fighting against Sword Saint Hyouka. However, to this day, you’re the one standing here and my sister on the other hand is missing without a trace. That means————”

“Ah, so it must mean I slayed Sword Saint Hyouka.”

At the moment, Kurou felt as if his own heart was coldly sinking.

There was probably no point in feigning ignorance. Manaka’s reasoning was pretty much one hundred percent accurate. The everlasting wound on Kurou’s forehead was dealt by none other than Sword Saint Hyouka.

“Indeed, me and my master wagered our lives in a match. However, how did it end up like that? Why was that the case? Why would I battle against that person......?”

“Quit joking around!”

Finally, Manaka got all riled up.

In the eight years he had been with her, he had never heard her voice this stern.

“You’re saying you don’t remember!? Your own master————my sister was killed, yet you still joke around!? You......You!”

Kurou was not fiddling around in the slightest.

He barely recalled what happened during the battle against the Sword Saint. He had experienced overwhelming fear. In the past, he saw her in his hometown holding the Eternal Horizon in her hand. In a fluid fashion, she battled as if she was going to exterminate everyone in the world. That kind of omnipotent monster was right in front of him.

That dreaded creature, was it of this world?

Actually, it must have been due to his extreme levels of fear when confronted with her.

Within Kurou’s memories, it did not contain the entire battle against the Sword Saint. When he returned to his senses, his forehead had received a deep gash, his body could not even move as he was sapped of all his strength. He had collapsed by the side of the little hut in the mountains.

Additionally, the fallen personalized sword by Kurou’s side was covered with someone’s blood......

“Guh......”

Suddenly, the wound on his forehead began to pulsate. A wound from a year ago had already healed right away, so how come up till now......

“Alright, enough. It doesn’t matter if you truly don’t remember or you’re just playing dumb. There’s nothing I have left to say towards Kurou-kun. In place of not having been able to slash my sister, how about I slash you instead? This should serve as a replacement.”

Wooosh, an eerie sound emanated from the blade of Manaka’s Dancer.

“Flames, go forth......”

As the flame rose while wrapped around the blade, it began to take shape. It was just as Lars had described, it kindled into a dragon shaped flame.

Although he understood that he shouldn’t be spellbound by this————that genuine red dragon appearance was remarkably beautiful. Following that, the flame dragon continuously expanded.

His forehead kept pulsating with pain. Clearly he had no choice but to flee, but his body wouldn’t budge. Was it the result of the pain from his wound, or was it because he was captivated?

“Rou!” “Kurou!”, the shouts of his name came from nearby. Kurou believed that it would be great if Sefi and Lars were able to escape. There was no need to worry about him.

“I won’t allow someone who bears a wound from my sister to live. You’ll be incinerated along with that wound.”

That colossal ball of flame that had transformed into a dragon was casted off from Manaka’s sword.

Why did it seem as if time was slowing down? The world became dyed in red and accompanying that deadly scorching heat, Kurou distinctly saw the gaping mouth of that gigantic dragon.

Looks like this had nothing to do with his body being petrified. Even in Kurou’s ideal state, he would probably feel powerless in face of this flame.

In the end, it probably cost him dearly that he had never predicted a situation where someone as powerful as Manaka would be the one manipulating things from behind the scenes.

“......?”

Just as everyone had thought Kurou was going to be burned to ashes, suddenly the back of someone’s figure stood in front of him.

“Hinako!?”

As Kurou yelled out for her, the flame dragon engulfed the maid outfit wearing girl. In an instant, her slender figure should be roasted by the flames, not even a trace of a single bone should remain————

“What......!?”

The one expressing their shock wasn’t Kurou, but rather it was Manaka.

The momentum of the flame dragon that was supposed to have burned her to death was rapidly weakening.

It was as if the flame dragon was sucked into Hinako’s chest————the whole thing vanished.

“What’s going on, how could this be happening......?”

Kurou muttered. As the flames disappeared, the surroundings were still eye piercingly bright.

There was clearly no wind, yet Hinako’s black hair floatingly swayed. A golden radiance was emitted from her body.

This light was identical to the one discharged by Hinako when he first encountered her that one night.

The maiden of the sun————

Kurou unwittingly recalled that line. Was it the power to eliminate all traces of flame based mystic arts? In that case, the attack Neena unleashed from before was also stopped by her.

“Flames, go forth!”

Hearing Manaka’s shout, Kurou instantly lifted his head. Just like before, a flame raised from Manaka’s sword————however, the flame then dispersed in all directions as it vanished.

“I can’t activate it————!? What the!?”

Manaka could plainly be seen wavering while Kurou couldn’t hide his own shock either. Previously described as dispelling mystic arts, would it be more accurate to say that her power was to seal the Blazes from using mystic arts......?

“Do not interfere with Onee-sama!”

Damn, I had forgotten about her!

Kurou had no time to react to Hinako being suddenly attacked. With things happening one after another, Kurou couldn’t even keep pace.

“You’re the one who shouldn’t interfere!”

“Sefi-sama!?”

Sefi reacted much quicker than Kurou. Standing by Hinako’s side, she used the Starbreaker to block Neena’s sword.

Neena’s strength surpassed Sefi’s. However, it was not to the point where Sefi crumbled under the might of Neena’s sword.

“Hinako, that’s enough. Come back here with me————”

After parrying away Neena’s sword, Sefi dragged Hinako by her hand.

At that moment————a golden light of greater intensity poured out when the their hands touched.

“What is it this time!?”

Kenshin v01 247.jpg

It was the first time Kurou encountered this. These preposterous matters were occurring one after another.

Suddenly, everyone present————even Kurou and Manaka who had repeatedly fought countless battles actually gazed away from their opponent and looked up into the sky.

In the sky overlooking the arena, a sound akin to thunder echoed and there appeared to be a split in the blue skies.

The split was actually fairly large, making it unfeasible to actually estimate its dimensions. However, it was quite obvious that only part of the sky turned pitch-black as if it was night. Accompanying that air-tremoring sound, the split gradually increased————

An explosive noise rang. Following that, the split disappeared just as suddenly as how it emerged.

“......I have no idea what’s even going on.”

Kurou was dumbfounded as he spoke. The golden radiance had already dissipated.

Sefi and Hinako lowered their heads and sat down from where they were. Gazing up into the sky wondering what had happened was Neena who was a few meters away from them.

“Could that have been......a portal......?”

“A portal......”

Kurou was stunned after hearing Manaka’s murmuring.

The portal was used by the Swordies to enter this world. Who knew how many there were at the time, but after the Great War they should all have been closed.

That kind of thing, why would it happen now————

“I......I see. Now I see why the Sun Cult highly coveted Hinako. Perhaps the group’s orders to obliterate Sefi were also————”

“Perhaps so......however, I’ll have to contemplate over this later. Right now we still need to determine a victor.”

Kurou stated in a declaration towards Manaka.

The throbbing pain from his old wound had already disappeared at some point.

His head was all cleared up now and he knew exactly what he had to do.

If it was impossible for him to land a hit on Manaka, then nothing could be done.

Sefi and Hinako, what happened between them? In order to find out, he had to protect his own life here.

“Yes, if Kurou-kun were to lose here then I’ll end up killing Sefi. Hinako will probably once again be imprisoned by the Sun Cult.”

“How regrettable, I won’t let that happen. Although bathing with you was nice, it’s unfortunate that it wasn’t with a younger girl.”

“Fufu, Kurou-kun still doesn’t understand the charms of an adult?”

Manaka revealed a seductive smile. She put on an act as she flipped the hair resting on her shoulders behind her back.

“Hey, Kurou-kun. Do you believe you can win? Even though I can’t utilize any mystic arts, I still have my sword. Actually, this sword is my entirety.”

“If that’s the case, then it’ll be fine as long as I put everything on the line.”

Kurou continued to pace along the stepwise spectator stands.

Manaka on the other hand did the same as Kurou, walking one step at a time as they maintained their distance.

In a decisive battle between swords, there was no chance of him winning. Kurou was well aware of that already.

Despite that, he couldn’t just withdraw his sword and call it quits.

For his own future————in order to attain his Dagger and establish his foothold within society, Kurou kept wielding his sword.

However, right now there was more than just that.

During the time that had passed since he arrived at the academy, the number of reasons for him to battle had risen.

Reflecting over it, he had always acted like a spoiled child around Sefi. Regardless if it was teasing her or sexually harassing her, being able to act coquettishly around her and her being able to bear it made it very exciting.

Hinako————she was barred from the outside world her entire life. Although she was very pleased with the school lifestyle, she still needed to go beyond the school and see the vast world.

I won’t let you kill Sefi, or allow you to lock Hinako up again.

As long as they were present, Kurou would still find a way to stand. He was able to battle because he wanted to protect them.

Despite that the swordsman in front of him was not on par with that monster he had encountered during his childhood, overcoming this obstacle was still exacting. There was an obvious gap in strength between the two of them.

However, he had changed from his childhood days when he survived Sword Saint Hyouka’s sword.

For Sefi and Hinako, and in order to display his swordsmanship, he now crossed swords with Manaka.

“Perhaps the number of reasons for prolonging this life has increased. I’m able to fight you because of that.”

“I only have one reason to kill Kurou-kun. Just one is enough. I have wanted to kill you all along, any time would have been fine and that time is now.”

Manaka’s footsteps ceased and then she took off in a gliding motion. Accompanying her breakneck speed, a sonic boom sounded. The seven Manakas that appeared seemingly went to surround Kurou as they lined up together.

That wasn’t all though.

Manaka tightly gripped the scabbard by her waist. In one swift motion, she pulled out another sword.

Her personalized sword, the Dancer, was in each of the two sides of the scabbard.

She was the dreaded dual wielder of two slender swords. This was Sword General Manaka’s true combat style.

“Let’s go Dancer. In front of these spectators who eagerly await, let’s transcend the world in our dance!”

The seven Manaka’s crossed their swords in front of their chest and gently kissed the blade that emitted an icy lustre.

This action, which exuded womanly charms, sent the heartstrings shaking.

“As expected, Manaka sure is terrifying.”

There it was, Kurou’s heart began pounding nonstop.

The dual wielded Chaos Dancer————that blade had the profound meaning of making countless people drop dead like a meteor shower and it was expertly put into use by the seven Manakas. It was Kurou’s first time witnessing this.

“Goodbye Kurou-kun, goodbye.”

Manaka’s muttering, just how many managed to catch that?

These seven princesses initiated the movements for the sword dance of death————

“Haaaaa!”

“What!?”

Suddenly, an animal-like roar was heard. Manaka’s dance-like movements came to a screeching halt after her shoes intensely braked along the surface.

“Lars! What are you?!”

“You had mentioned my demonic essence before, but it’s really quite a shame that you had forgotten all about me.”

Lars had silently approached Manaka from behind and saw through the main body of the seven Manakas. With one swing of the sword, he cleanly sliced Manaka’s lower leg.

After that, Lars nimbly separated from Manaka and stood there as he held onto the Beast Slayer. Blood violently bursted out from the wound Manaka had dealt to him. Perhaps even standing was strenuous for him.

There was no doubt that he poured all his strength into that one strike.

“I’m sorry but————I won’t let you kill Kurou. That’d be the equivalent of killing me.”

“Lars......!”

Manaka’s indignant eyes focused on Lars who was brazenly smiling despite looking pale from the loss of blood.

“That’s all I can do. You’re up Kurou. You still haven’t displayed your true strength. Now is the time to pull out your sword!”

After Lars finished speaking, the Beast Slayer and Lars both toppled to the ground. Although he was not dead, he was nearing his breaking point.

“Pull out his sword? What’s he saying? Didn’t Kurou retrieve his sword a long time ago?”

“......”

Manaka was completely baffled, however Kurou clearly understood what Lars meant.

Kurou diligently fought against the Sword Saint. Furthermore, he at least came out alive.

At that time————if he could just summon the strength that allowed him to survive back then......

Despite losing all recollections, he recognized what he needed to do. He didn’t just learn the Olden Style from the Sword Saint. Originally, the Sword Saint’s technique wasn’t even the Olden Style, her true values were embodied by something else.

“At best, all you did was deal a cut to my leg!”

Manaka once again made her move. Her dance was at divine speeds and caused a gale. At this moment, Kurou noticed something slightly off.

This time there wasn’t seven duplicates, but five instead. Looks like the wound she had suffered from Lars was quite grave.

However, the disparity in strength between Kurou and hers was still too great even though she had been dealt a wound like this. Even just five of them utilizing the Chaos Dancer would probably desecrate Kurou without difficulty.

However, he couldn’t lose here.

It was Manaka herself that had stated this before. As the disciple of the Sword Saint, he absolutely could not incur a shameful loss.

The wound Manaka delivered to him was pulsating in pain as blood flowed out.

Even so, that was nothing compared to the pain from being slashed by the Sword Saint.

For I to have lived after battling the Sword Saint————how could I die here!

Now was the time to use it, the other significant ability he had learned from his master————

“Die Kurou!”

The dual wielded Chaos Dancer came flying at him.

Kurou ran towards the five Manakas.

As he sprinted over, a white ray of light was radiating from Kurou’s entire body————

“The light blade!? B-But how!?”

No, this wasn’t the light blade.

Swordies were able to transmit a portion of the light in their body to their blade. However, it differed for Kurou.

Because he was unable to completely control his light, it was impossible for him to concentrate it into his blade. As a result, the light kept pouring out from his entire body.

There was the disadvantage of being unable to gather it in his blade, but the light that traveled throughout his entire body raised his physical capabilities and defensive power.

Although it wasn’t on par with a Swordie, it did go beyond the limits of a human.

To Kurou, who had always maintained his normal state when fighting against Swordies, this was already more than enough. An unpredictable swordsmanship plus the physical capabilities that surpassed that of a human.

If the two were to be combined together————

“How is a human able to utilize light!?”

“Your sister taught me this!”

The light force of the Seven Swords could even detect the light in humans.

If it could be sensed, then perhaps it could be manipulated as well————

That haughty Sword Saint taught Kurou how to handle light through this convenient way of thinking. Having Kurou put it into use would allow him to grow its power.

However, the phenomenon that occurred from Kurou’s body, did it have something to do with the light being from a different race other than Swordies? Even Kurou wasn’t too sure on this matter.

Because the Sword Saint possessed such insurmountable light and was well adept in handling it, she was probably able to detect a similar power that laid dormant in humans.

She spent countless years and even used her own disciple as a test subject. In the end, she had successfully brought out this kind of strength.

Nothing changed though. Instead, regardless if it was me or Manaka, we are just dancing in the palm of that person’s hands.

Following that, as the two of them met up————something appeared......

Kurou’s eyes could now detect light after being empowered by his light force. Heading towards one of the fast approaching Manakas, he unleashed nine white streaks of light.

The nine white streaks of light did not have a physical form. However, Kurou’s eyes were actually able to visualize it.

Saintly Slash of the Nine Heavens————the direction of the strike was guided by the light. It was a spectacle developed by the Olden Style and the Sword Saint’s swordsmanship.

Each of the nine streaks of light from the sword maneuver headed towards the incoming enemy.

Kurou still should have been incapable of spotting that minute opening from the incredible speed of the Dancer.

However, as long as his sword was in motion it should be fine. It was as if he was trying to chase after the light and become one with it.

There wasn’t even the necessity of blocking the sword of the Chaos Dancer. With even greater speeds, his sword merged into the light——that radiant blade transformed into a flash of light as it came at her.

As Kurou’s body was irradiating white light, the killer strike that was directed toward the beautiful princess————


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