The food warehouse was being burnt grandly to the ground. From inside the inflamed building, one can smell food turned to crisps.
And from the surroundings, angry voices could be heard.
Together with that, countless screams of pain also could also be heard.
It was a massacre.
Laura’s gaze didn’t waver even when such battlefield was spread in front of her, she only stared fixedly at the burning central building.
“Onee-sama… Is everything alright here?”
Along with the sounds of clashing weapons, a beautiful voice could be heard calling for her…
In such battlefield, that voice was not matching the environment.
But to those words, Laura answered without turning back.
“Yes, there’s no problems here. Thanks to Ryouma-sama stopping Moore’s movements, we managed to burn the warehouse smoothly. It will be impossible to stop this fire now even if they ceased their fighting … Not even if Moore used the water magic arts he’s renowned for…”
In front of her, a large fire was burning the warehouse.
Not only because of the burnable goods, such result was also possible because they had used oil.
If it was still in the early stages then it would be possible, but since it was already this late, it had become impossible to stop the fire.
Of course, if Moore was able to take the lead to stop this chaos, then there would be a slight possibility he would succeed, but with Ryouma stopping him, such an event was now remote.
“How is your mission ?”
“We also didn’t encounter any problems. Because they thought we were part of their army when we infiltrated, the sudden fire has thrown all of the soldiers into confusion, thus making it easy for us to dispose of them…”
“I see, it seems like no one was injured ? All is fine as long you’re alright…”
Laura nodded her head without turning her gaze to Sara while grasping her iron sword drenched with blood.
One can certainly grasp from her voice that she was worried.
However, if she really felt worried, she should’ve shown a different kind of attitude.
But even with her being like that, Sara didn’t show any anger towards her elder sister, Laura, for displaying such cold attitude.
Sara herself felt the same.
Both of them had been betrayed by their trusted vassals and sold as war slaves, but an old-faced young man saved them and gave their freedom back.
For the Marfisto sisters, giving everything they have for him was an absolute truth.
They would not hesitate to even sacrifice their lives for him…
“At this time, Ryouma-sama would be…”
Feeling a slight sorrow from Sara’s voice, Laura turned her gaze at her sister who was now standing beside her.
“Probably, right now, Ryouma-sama is fighting Moore?”
Laura was not sure.
During the meeting, no related topic was being mentioned.
However, if Ryouma could take the head of Greg Moore who had a big reputation, he could expect more rewards as war merit.
For Ryouma who was currently trying to develop Wortenia peninsula, such rewards were very fascinating.
Whether it was money or power, for the current Ryouma he lacked both.
With that, considering Mikoshiba Ryouma’s character, he was not someone who will abandon such opportunity.
“As expected… We should’ve gone with him…”
Words filled with anxiety and anguish come out from Sara.
No matter how strong Greg Moore was, as long they gang him with numbers, they could kill him.
However, Laura quietly shook her head.
“It’s not necessary for us to do that… If Ryouma-sama didn’t see the prospect of winning, Ryouma-sama wouldn’t fight. Sara should also know that too, don’t you ?”
Ryouma had collected a lot of informations from Simone and Iga clan’s members beforehand.
It was a fact that Mikoshiba Ryouma was weaker compared to the battlefield hardened Greg Moore.
Although Ryouma possessed comprehensive martial arts capabilities, he was not someone very proficient in magic arts, compared to Greg Moore who had experienced many battlefields as well, but also possessed high magic arts competence.
And not to forget, Greg Moore’s magic sword ability.
Even though Mikoshiba Ryouma possessed the characteristics of a person from a different world, one still cannot replace actual experience.
That was why Sara’s concerns were with founded.
Laura also understood that. However, she didn’t doubt Ryouma’s victory.
Or rather, she desperately tried to believe in it.
“We only need to finish our job properly…”
She squeezes such words from the depth of her heart.
It was not like she didn’t feel any anxiety. Laura herself knew that there was nothing absolute in a battlefield.
That feeling was not related to her trust in Ryouma’s ability.
It was more like she was being anxious because she was unable to stand besides her important person.
However, on the other hand, Laura also understands the importance of her work.
She was feeling anxious regarding her master’s safety and also wanted to answer her master’s trust towards her.
Such conflict broke out inside Laura’s heart.
“Although the many surprises had thrown the enemy into confusion, it will eventually die down over time. It would be dangerous if many of the Ortomea Empire’s soldiers managed to survive. We should devote our self with the current task and don’t think about unnecessary worries…”
In her eyes, a strong determination could be seen.
However, Sara didn’t miss the trembling when she looked at her sister’s shoulders.
There were many things she wanted to say.
However, being able to sympathize with Laura’s feelings, Sara left the place quietly after she turned her eyes towards the central building for a brief moment.
To fulfill their duty…
At the time Laura and Sara directed their gazes at the central building, the opening of Ryouma and Greg Moore’s introduction to each other was over, and their decisive battle was about to start.
Dull silver light shone on Ryouma’s eyes.
Among the swords created by the Iga clan’s blacksmiths, there was the battle katana that boast a reputation as one of the strongest.
The katana was a masterpiece that would not lose in quality compared to the work of master blacksmiths that left their name in history.
Ryouma licked his lips while drawing his katana with a side stance, as if trying to hide his sword. <TLN: Waki Kamae.>
(The rock-solid Moore…)
Glint of delight can be seen from Ryouma’s gaze, as he thought about the nickname of the knight standing in front of him.
If one were to prioritize his survival, he should’ve used the ErnestGora soldiers that were standing behind him to attack.
However, he had no such intentions.
The fact that Moore needs to find his end here was an absolute priority, but the rewards obtained from the way he died changed dramatically depending on which methods Ryouma choose. <TLN: Like, you order your soldiers to gang the enemy’s commander in chief, versus a one on one battle between two commanders in chief… The fame, the rewards etc, would be different.> –
(I can’t help it but somehow feel excited…)
In a battlefield, an opportunity for one on one battle was hard to happen.
That was why Moore’s proposal could be said as a godsend for him.
The aura emitted by Moore’s body was very similar to that of Ryouma’s grandfather, Mikoshiba Kouichirou.
It was characteristic of a strong person.
In fact, Moore was someone who had his name spread even to the neighboring countries as a large broadsword user.
If Ryouma managed to kill him, the distinction for war services would be massive. If Mikoshiba Ryouma’s name grew bigger, he could demand more things from Lupis for the development of the Wortenia peninsula.
This situation was within his satisfaction. And as well as a perfect opportunity for him.
But, outside of profit thinking, Ryouma also could feel the excitement from within his own emotions.
Moore shouted out while raising his sword above his head.
His shout shook the atmosphere around them.
And his prana immediately activated the magic art engraved on his broadsword.
The distance between the two was still around 10 meters away, but Moore swung down his sword without hesitation.
At the same time, a crescent-like transparent wave flies toward Ryouma.
Instinctively Ryouma swung his sword diagonally to parry the attack.
Shock ran through Ryouma’s hands, and blood comes out of one of Ryouma’s shoulder.
If Ryouma didn’t parry the attack, he might have lost his arm.
Dull pain starts to ache from his wounded left shoulder.
However, Ryouma didn’t lose his concentration even for a bit.
(Is this the power of that water magic sword? Had I not gathered information beforehand, I might’ve died by now…)
Seeing water dripping from his enemy’s sword, Ryouma sighed inside his heart. –
Water magic with cutting specialty, [Water Cutter] <TLN: no seriously, the name was in English>
A memory which he saw back when he was in Japan started to resurface.
He remembered something he saw on TV, it was an education program about how water could penetrate solid object or cut an object if it had enough pressure. <TLN: Basically Water Jet Cutter, Go look at youtube.>
Although it was unclear how the water magic scientifically works, the fundamental was similar.
The difference with Water Jet machine, Moore’s magic sword didn’t have any compression mechanism.
Not only that, he didn’t have any water tank with him either.
He just needs to apply his prana to the magic engraved on his sword. Only that.
In that sense, one can say that such attack was a fairly convenient ability.
(I guess water attacks will come flying at me every time he swings his sword? Somehow, it feels like the blade flew away instead…)
A blade of water flew at high speed. To use a common image, it was very similar to the extended slashing attack that usually appears in manga or anime.
It was capable of attacking while maintaining some distance, not only that, it didn’t require any chanting like normal magic arts. The advantage of such an ability was very big on a battlefield where life and death often stand on a knife’s edge.
In addition to being able to use the sword’s ability as a ranged attack, if one swung the sword sideways then it would become an anti-group attack. <TLN: Area of Effect attack>
However, even with all of that, it didn’t mean such power had no weaknesses either.
Although the speed of the water attack itself was fast, the attack still needs Moore to swing his sword first, thus it was still possible to predict the flying water attack by observing the timing.
If Ryouma pays attention to Moore’s arm movement and his foot position, as a martial artist, those should be enough for Ryouma to predict when and where the enemy is going to attack.
(Certainly, that magic sword is really troublesome… However, if the magic attack can only appear along the sword’s path, I still can handle it… Not yet, I still can do this without the use of magic arts.)
While turning his eyes to the back, Ryouma returned into middle-level-stance. <TLN: Chudan no kamae>
Since it was disadvantageous for him to deal with fast flying water attack with side stance. <TLN: Waki no kamae>
(Starting from his sword, the water attack can attack approximately around 20 meters away.)
It was only his prediction, but he was full of confidence.
That was also because he saw the water easily being repelled by the ErnestGora Knights’ armor.
It was proof that the water attack pressure and speed would get dampened by nature.
The range of the attack was very long compared to the water jet cutter machine, but if one were to see the attack from the perspective of fantasy-like in this world then, had Moore’s attack not lost its power as it went further, the attack should’ve torn the ErnestGora knights’ body.
Not only that, there was also a problem that the attack was made of water.
It might have been different if the water was mixed with sand or stones, but the attack cutting power was limited to that of pure water.
Thus, even though it was powerful enough to harm the human body, without the strong pressure it was not something that was strong enough to slash a thick iron armor.
Ryouma was able to understand that after he saw his katana not breaking from the attack deflection earlier.
However, of course, it didn’t mean he can safely escape from such attacks all the time either.
While clicking his tongue after he saw the chipped blade, Ryouma also tried to read Moore’s mind.
(I need to pay attention to the distance between us… I think he will try to attack while taking advantage of his weapon and keep check of the distance between us…)
Ryouma gazed at Moore, observing his movement. –
As Ryouma had expected, seeing he had managed to deflect the attack, Moore clicked his tongue and once again raised his sword high.
And again the water blade was released towards Ryouma the moment the sword was being swung down.
First shot, second shot, third shot…
It was a continuous stream of attacks.
After he swung his sword down, Moore immediately performed right and left slash as well.
Moore swung his sword as he roared.
While he prepared to defend against the attack with his katana, Ryouma felt a premonition.
(Somehow, those attacks feel dull…)
The monotonous attacks can be easily avoided.
Causing Ryouma to question why the enemy did it.
But, the answer to that question quickly appeared.
By the time the enemy performed the third slash, the water attack pushed the first attack forward with high speed.
The trajectory speed raised exponentially.
Had the attack assaulted Ryouma as it was, it would’ve torn Ryouma’s body in half who was wearing only light armor.
After he managed to deflect the wave of attacks, Ryouma returned to middle-level-stance.<TLN: Chudan no Kamae>
(Vertical and Horizontal… I see… That was his aim…)
Repeat monotonous attacks and suddenly pull an attack with different timing.
Ryouma would be dead if he didn’t concentrate here.
Both men then glanced at each other eyes.
The Ortomea and ErnestGora’s knights were also watching the match with a tense atmosphere.
(Well, I wouldn’t be able to win this battle if I kept defending like that… I guess I’m in a more disadvantageous position than I had thought I would be ?)
In order for Ryouma to win the battle, he needs to fill the distance gap between the two.
On the contrary, Moore wanted to keep the distance between them and disturb Ryouma’s stance with a ranged attack.
(I guess his aim was to make that thing flew faster… Well, It might be true that his chance of winning lay there…)
What comes to Ryouma’s mind was a sword technique called quick sword draw. He thought the enemy was going to bet all on it. <ED: iaijutsu ?><TLN: Yep>
But soon, Moore overturned Ryouma’s expectation that he wanted a long range battle.
The moment his third chakra’s ring [Manipura] activated, Moore’s speed and muscular strength exploded. After he performed a quick draw to create a water attack like before, he also dashed forward with a speed that was beyond what a normal human could possibly do.
And at the next instant, violent sparks scatter between the two people, sharp metal sounds echoes inside the hall.
For a moment, Ryouma’s body floated into the air.
He was using the momentum to jump back to create some distance.
(That was bad !… He charged to attack the moment I thought he was going to only perform long ranged attack… Not bad !)
A drop of blood appeared on Ryouma’s cheek, but Ryouma smirked with a fearless smile on his face.
Because of the fast attack, he didn’t manage to fully deflect the water blades. And that water blade grazed on Ryouma’s cheek.
Using a long ranged attack to cause the enemy to make an opening, then close the distance and bring the fight into close quarter combat. It was a difficult method, that requires precise timing.
The trace of the attack still could be seen on the weapon in Ryouma’s hand.
Some of his katana’s blade was now chipped because of it.
(With a difference in weapon performance, if I met that attack head on once again, my sword would break in two…)
Although it was a katana made for battle, compared to Moore’s magic sword, the one Ryouma had had no magic arts being imbued in it.
In other words, his weapon was nothing more than a durable sword.
In contrast to that, Moore had a magic sword in his hand.
Such swords won’t get dull because of blood fat and many other things, and by applying Prana to it, the sword durability will increase.
Ryouma too could use magic arts, but he was lacking in terms of experience in using them compared to Moore.
Furthermore, Moore himself seemed to have realize that in this battle Ryouma’s sword had not yet been imbued or enhanced by magic arts.
(Well, this is also fine. When one has to fight in order to win, the weaker side just needs to fight the way they want to…)
The difference in weapon performances. And as well the difference in experience as a magic arts user.
If one were to simply see it from the viewpoint of the strong versus the weak then, Ryouma wouldn’t be able to reach Moore.
Of course, it was also true that the strong have the higher possibility of winning. However, it didn’t mean the weak could not win either.
There were many methods to use when disadvantaged, like a better strategy, attack the enemy when they fall asleep, increase one’s allies and turn the fight into a collective warfare, take the enemy’s family members as a hostage, or use poison, and many other options.
If one didn’t consider the ethics or one’s reputations, it was not possible for the weak to gain an easy victory.
Just for argument’s sake, no matter what situation you were in, as long you keep on walking, there will be always a way, unless you give up along the way.
For Ryouma who had been taught by his grandfather regarding that matter since a young age, his heart wouldn’t falter just because he was put in the weaker position.
(Since he seems to have realized that I lacked experience in both, battlefield martial arts and magic arts , I bet he will soon come attacking at me because of arrogance…. And looking at the time we’ve spent, he will also lose his patience soon… With that, I guess the next attack will decide this duel…)
The last moment of the duel will come in a few seconds.
The moment when Ryouma obtained the victory.