Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 25 (Part 2)
The arena’s training room was even bigger than the one in the 8th city’s adventurer’s guild. Additionally, when I touched the magic barrier around it, I discovered that it also had a higher level of efficiency. If it’s like this, then I could definitely fight using my full power. I didn’t want to hurt Luca though, so we decided on some rules.
“Using sword skills isn’t allowed. Magic will be limited to small-scale magic. I’ll use my usual dagger, but I don’t want you to be at a disadvantage so make sure to defend yourself properly.”
“Understood. I’ll be in your care.”
Nodding at his response, I held up my dagger. Luca also grasped his sword and directed its edge towards me. His gaze sharpened, and the tension in the air grew. Silence enveloped the surroundings; the air was cold, tense, and refreshing.
How would my opponent move? As we looked at each other, trying to detect each other’s movements, I strengthened my body and started fully circulating magic through it.
Firmly, one of my feet struck the ground. Using it to kick off, I closed the distance between the two of us.
Clang! The clashing sound of metal rang out and reverberated in the air. He had shaken off my attack. However, before my feet had even hit the ground, I’d already released the magic power that had been charged in my staff.
“Dark Arrow, Shadow Edge!”
Things collided with a thud. Luca swung his sword down while the magic wall protected him. I blocked it, but it was a very heavy and focused strike. I strengthened my body even further. I was still superior to him, though.
I flipped my blade and thrust it at his exposed chest. However, Luca stepped back before the dagger could reach him. I moved back, slightly widening the space between us, then fired my magic.
Closing the distance, he attacked, letting the magic wall protect him and not making any particular effort to avoid the falling lightning. Our blades clashed. Though he had been aiming for an opening, I skillfully blocked his attack.
As if to push him even further, I launched a barrage of slashing attacks with my dagger. Each time I was blocked, I launched a new attack which would get blocked once again. With every strike, sparks flew out.
I could see the impatience on Luca’s face, maybe because he has only been on the defensive up until this point. Immediately afterwards though, my feet were swept away, destroying my balance. It was his tentacles. His light tentacles managed to coil around my ankles. Then his sword came swinging down. How naïve.
My own tentacles extended out and grasped Luca’s arms, preventing his attack.
Those tentacles around my feet… I couldn’t cut them. It was amazing that he has managed to condense his magic to this level. Truly an unbelievable improvement.
If I couldn’t escape the tentacle’s grasp, then I just needed to use an attack that would erase them.
Apparently we were thinking the same thing, and the two magic attacks collided in close proximity; both of us put up a magic wall.
I was able to successfully cut off his tentacles. Luca also managed to cut my tentacles, and the instant our eyes met, our blades clashed again, sword against dagger. The clashing blades shrieked with our efforts. Maybe it was because Luca’s physical prowess was higher, but it didn’t seem like I could just push through.
In that case. I parried the blade I’d blocked to the side and swung my dagger towards his exposed torso 1. I thought that by doing that my blade would reach him, but his magic wall hindered my attack, slowing it down halfway. And once again, tentacles coiled around my arms.
His sword drew nearer and I too defended with a magic wall; I pointed my staff at him, all while grabbing his arms with my tentacles.
He was hit by a magic explosion at very close range. It seemed like the magic wall managed to prevent a direct hit, but the tentacles restraining my arms disappeared. I turned to Luca, who was groaning in pain, and swung my dagger down at him. This was the end.
But, before I could even hold back my attack, clang! It was blocked by a sword. I was surprised, not having expected him to defend. Without pause, he swung his sword in a wide arc, closing the distance between us.
Luca panted heavily, his breath uneven. But even then, as if he was unwilling to give up, he straightened his posture and fixed his eyes on me.
… Is that so? You’d go that far in order to protect me.
I also took a deep breath and pointed my dagger at him once more. Maybe it was because I needed to continuously concentrate on the fight but I had gotten tired. This was proof of how much stronger Luca has gotten.
This time, Luca made the first strike. He was fast. In the blink of an eye, the blade drew nearer and was thrust towards me. I parried the blow, flinging it to the side; he blocked my successive kick with a magic wall, grabbing my ankle with his tentacles.
I instantly released my magic. Although it was a small-scale magic attack it still has considerable power, so Luca was forced to focus on his magic wall. I took this opportunity to cut the tentacles, and then I swung my dagger at Luca.
The two blades then clashed again. My dagger was immediately flung upwards from a blow coming from my bottom left. After my blade was blocked, I swung again, this time from directly above. This strike was blocked as well, but the strength of his blow made my arms tremble.
The sword wasn’t just Luca’s strong point; he truly seemed to have an affinity for it. I’d lose if we ever fought in a situation where I couldn’t use my magic. His sword skills were that powerful and beautiful.
My sword ability was one that specializes in killing monsters. It was a skill that took lives, rather than protected others; it was a sword that solely aimed at its opponent’s weak points.
I released my bloodlust. In order to kill my opponents.
My pupils dilated. Determining where to aim in order to reap their lives.
Luca gulped and took a step back from me. Utilizing all of his magic power into putting up a magic wall, he fixed his grip on the sword.
That’s the spirit.
I kicked at the ground with my magically reinforced legs, closing the distance between us in a flash. I poured all my magical power into the dagger, and then used the blade to smash his magic wall into pieces.
My dagger collided with Luca’s sword mid-swing. In an instant, while his body is turning around, come up from behind, and slice his artery from the back…
With a clank, Luca’s sword fell to the ground.
“It’s my win.” I declared. My dagger was pressing on the base of his neck.
As soon as I released my bloodlust and lowered my dagger, Luca staggered. I supported him so he wouldn’t collapse.
“Ah… I thought I was going to die.”
“My bad, I put in too much bloodlust. Are you ok?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. Just a little tired.”
He grinned back, even while he was dripping with sweat. But one could tell how much he had pushed himself by his unsteady breaths and disheveled state. Since I was tired as well, we both sat down right where we were standing. Then Luca wrapped his arms around my waist and nuzzled his cheek against my head.
“Haa, I lost. I knew I would, but it’s still frustrating.”
“I think it’s amazing though that you made me get serious.”
“Right, that was Zagan when he’s serious. Exuding enough bloodlust to make one falter, closing the distance in the blink of an eye, breaking a magic wall with one strike – I was so surprised, I thought my heart was going to stop.”
“There were a lot of moments where I was also surprised, you know. My attacks were blocked over and over again. I couldn’t cut your tentacles, and you were powerful enough to offset my magic. If I hadn’t come at you with killing intent then I might have lost.”
“Then… is it a pass? Can I fight together with Zagan?”
“Of course. I’ll be relying on you.”
As I nodded back, Luca let out a sigh of relief and smiled. Then he pressed his cheek against my head again. Were you so happy that you’re laughing like that?
I quietly let myself be hugged, but then I suddenly remembered something and grabbed Luca’s right hand. I stared at the large palm that had been gripping a sword only moments ago.
“What’s the matter, Zagan? Is there something wrong with my hand?”
“No… I just felt like Luca’s sword is something that is wielded to protect others. When I blocked it, it was comfortable.”
“Is that so? Fufu, I’m happy to be praised. Zagan’s sword skills have really been honed. Any unnecessary things have been whittled away … it felt somehow lonely.”
“Because its only purpose is to kill. When facing an enemy, it prioritizes taking their life. That’s how my body moves. For me, protecting others is something that I can’t do.”
I looked down at my own palm. Since the first day I held a sword, and until now, it was a hand that has buried many lives. That was how I grew stronger though, so I didn’t have any regrets.
But, looking back, what about the lives that were lost that I should have protected? The attacks I had avoided t might have hit those behind me. Someone might have become entangled in the magic I’d released. That was why I didn’t want anybody around me while I’m fighting.
No… it’s ok. Luca has become stronger. Also, there was the magic barrier. I definitely wouldn’t die and I would never let Luca die either.
Nothing in this world was absolute, but I would absolutely make this happen.
I clenched my fist firmly. And when I did, Luca put his hand on top of mine.
“Don’t worry, Zagan. Because I’ll protect everything you want to protect. That’s why you should just fight with all the power you think you’ll need. If you do that, lots of lives can be saved.”
His eyes looked at me from up close. That honest gaze of his was beautiful and terribly reassuring.
Naturally, I came to think that if Luca was here, then everything would be ok.