Sounds of blades clashing with each other resounded in the open space.
And a few seconds later, both overlapping shadows jumped back to create some distance between them.
No one knew how many times they had repeated such actions. With rough breathing, both people’s shoulders went up and down.
“You’re tougher than I had expected…”
Moore slightly murmured those words while keeping his eyes on Ryouma who had kept his posture in front of him.
The long-distance water attacks didn’t bring the results Moore had expected, and even if he brings the fight to close quarter range, Ryouma continuously manages to accept his attacks.
(I never knew there was that way of fighting… I guess this is how he, no, otherworlders fight, huh ?)
Although it was a great misunderstanding, Moore felt proud for being a person who experienced fighting against a technique that was from another world.
Moore’s way of fighting itself was not wrong.
It was a simple way of fighting by using magic arts to further strengthen one’s body that was already tempered by practicing martial arts, Moore was very familiar with that way of fighting.
It was a fighting strategy that maximized muscle strength, and that method was also the most popular among the knights of this world.
But Ryouma’s way of fighting was slightly different, not only did he use his muscle strength to the maximum, he also used combat strategy that combines weak and soft fighting movements that utilize his opponent’s power. <TLN: Similar to how Aikido works, in sword style I don’t know what school teaches that kind of style, but I think it is part of the counter-sword style, for reference try to read the manga called Kurogane, it was a manga about kendo with counter style as the focus.>
Ryouma himself has no particular fuzz regarding his method. Because for him, to fight means to kill his enemy, just that.
Sometimes he goes in with full force, sometimes he pulls the enemy in and handles it with a soft technique.
He mixes both ways very well.
For him, that was the way the weak should fight against the strong.
As for Moore, who had been used to fight against opponents with the same tactics as him, this duel was very refreshing for him.
For the weak to be able to do that, one needs to concentrate and pays attention to the opponent’s flow and then try to control it. In a battlefield, it was hard to do that kind of thing, because of how one should pay attention to other things rather than just the enemy in front.
Even for Ryouma’s martial arts master, Mikoshiba Kouichirou will also meet difficulties when performing such tasks on a battlefield.
Of course, Moore didn’t realize it, he just felt that the way Ryouma fight was very different compared to the way of fighting he had experienced so far.
(Well, whatever. I just have to deal with it…)
In order to gain victory, Moore had gathered information from the surroundings as much as possible and formulated a method to win.
(Should I cut down his physical strength with water attacks? I guess no, he could even defend against the continuous attacks … Although it is possible to make some scratches, I guess it is impossible to cause a fatal injury with it… Instead, I would be wasting my Prana and losing my strength first…)
That didn’t mean scratches were completely useless. Even if it was a small scratch, if there were quite a lot, it would cause a huge amount of bleeding, and as a result, the enemy’s physical’s strength would be greatly reduced.
However, in exchange for a scratch, Moore needed to use a huge amount of Prana, thus it was not worth it.
In war or business, cost-efficiency was very important.
In other words, it was directly tied to the return on investment versus production cost. <TLN: The cost of using the skill versus the result from using it.>
Moore then glanced at the sword in his hand.
Although it was certainly convenient for him to be able to use magic arts attack without chanting, it was never something that can be regarded as invincible or like a versatile ability.
Especially the amount of Prana consumption during the fight.
For Moore, something like that was not something he could ignore easily, even though he was a warrior who could activate the third chakra ring, Manipura.
Furthermore, he had to maintain the three chakra rings together with the consumption of Prana, to use his water attacks. No matter how much Moore boasted about his abundant Prana, he would still run out of it during battle if he used it recklessly.
No matter how high-powered the car, if there is no fuel left, it won’t be able to run.
(I guess I can only end this fight if I make it into a close quarter showdown, huh?)
However, Moore immediately denied that idea.
(No, if he keeps defending like this, it would be hard for me to inflict any fatal injury. Even if I brought the fight to close quarter combat, the fight will still drag on… Furthermore, all would be over the moment I run out of Prana….)
Certainly, in overall strength, Moore was stronger compared to Mikoshiba Ryouma.
However, in a one on one duel, such evaluation was not necessarily guaranteed victory.
The point of Moore’s strength was located in his proficiency of using magic arts.
In other words, the moment he runs out of Prana, Moore would turn into just a normal knight with more battlefield experience.
But, that also didn’t mean Moore would turn into someone weak, although he will definitely find it harder to kill Ryouma, since even with magic arts at his disposal, he had already met with serious difficulties in killing Ryouma.
In front of Moore, right now stood a man with a body as strong as a beast, unyielding will and spirit.
If he showed any openings, that beast of a man would definitely strike and kill him.
(If we are talking about talent, I guess he has more of it than I do, I guess ?)
Moore who used magic arts, and Ryouma who did not.
It was a reality that was difficult to admit, but one cannot do anything but be honest about it.
Because in a battlefield, reality trumps anything.
However, such things were only understood by the two people engaged in the duel.
“””Uooooh ! Victory for Moore-sama ! Glory to the Ortomea Empire !!!”””
The screams of the Ortomea Empire soldiers who watched Moore’s fight from a distance resounded.
It was natural for the soldiers’ morale to raise if they saw that their commander was attacking relentlessly, and the enemy was only able to defend.
Because of that, for them, Moore looked more powerful compared to Ryouma.
It was also no wonders that the surroundings thought that Moore would be victorious.
(Che… Those morons…)
A gaze of resentment was directed to the nearby soldiers for only an instant.
If it was the usual duel, it would be one’s pleasure to get praised and cheered like that.
The cheers that were directed towards Moore would usually give an extra fighting power. <TLN: Human physiology, the effect is like an increase in motivation etc… Welp, I don’t need to explain it further, yes ?>
Well, outward appearances aside, for Moore, looking at those people who didn’t know anything yet were shouting so irresponsibly, it caused him to feel irritated. but because he knew that they cheered him out of good will, it left him at a loss for words instead.
And because of that uncomfortable feeling, it caused Moore’s steps to become gradually more tense.
(Tch, I can’t be too tense at this time… But now I see, the reason he had been playing defense all this time was for this, huh… And as expected, I need a little bit more time for full recovery…)
Particularly about his feet, which didn’t feel right when he tried to draw his sword.
Discomfort. It was something he felt in one part of his body that would erode Moore’s movements as time goes on.
To heal his wound, he had been using a uncommon method, which caused him to feel a sense of discomfort.
(Tch, if this drags on… I have no other way but to turn this duel into a close quarter combat, huh?)
It was something he had dismissed before but he could not think of any other way.
He had no choice but to use his last trump card.
Moore needed to pay a great price for using it. And once a trump card was revealed, it can’t be called one anymore.
But, Moore had already made his decision.
Even though he had strengthened his body with magic arts, when it comes to swinging sword, the lower part of the body was very important.
(A little more… please endure it a little bit more…)
While glancing at one of his legs, Moore raised the large broadsword he had above his head.
The killing intent was being released from Moore’s whole body.
The raised broadsword began to spark under the reflection of the lamp’s light.
“DIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE Mikoshiba !”
Moore shouted his words with a roar.
(The first attack, it will come diagonally !)
His muscles started to strengthen. His brain becomes highly focused too, increasing his speed and reflexes.
It was the instant where humans increase their concentration to the extreme.
Moore put a large amount of Prana into his sword and swung it down, a very large water blade that cannot be compared to the previous ones flew towards Ryouma.
And without stopping, Moore continued to slash the sword horizontally.
(The second strike from the left…)
The water blades immediately assaulted towards Ryouma.
(Ceh… As expected, he’s still able to defend against it, huh?)
On Ryouma’s hand, there was a thick katana sword that had cut the water attack that came flying at him, and smashed it.
If it was up until that far, then it was still the same as before.
But this time, it was different.
Moore clicked his tongue and strengthened his body much further.
The third attack had not yet been executed, which usually comes at the same time.
Although he cannot use it all the time, Moore was someone who could perform three consecutive attacks with his beloved sword.
Because his sword can be categorized as a longsword, it was very hard for a normal person to change their stance immediately after performing one slash.
Moore’s beloved sword was boasting twice the thickness of the usual swords and had a full length of up to 1,5 meters.
The weight of it exceeds ten kilos.
Certainly, it was not impossible to lift the sword, but if one were trying to fight with it, the story would change completely.
The common one-handed sword weights around 1,5 kilos. Moore’s sword weights double or even triple that of a normal two-handed sword which is usually around 3 to 5 kilos.
Furthermore, if a human swung such a big sword, the centrifugal force would be applied, which caused the weight of the sword to be multiplied during an attack.
One need a lot of effort to use such a sword. Not only strengthening the body, but also in training to gain proficiency in using one’s own weapon.
In Moore’s eyes, the figure of an exhausted Ryouma was being reflected.
It seems like after he prevented the oversized water blades, he had cut loose some tension.
(You moron, with this you will die !)
He had consumed considerable time to put his body into the stance. He had only used two consecutive attacks, this third attack was the one he had planned as a surprise move.
(Eat this !!)
He draws his sword backwards to the limit.
He put all of his power for this last attack on his hands and lower body.
All of his muscles screamed all at once due to the force deployed.
It felt like his muscle fibers were about to get torn apart due to the stance.
Especially the burden on his wounded leg and waist were huge.
But Moore ignored all of the pains.
And because in order to endure the pain, he had bitten his lips too strongly, it caused them to bleed now.
This will be the his strongest skill in action.
It was an attack that used all of his body power to the limit.
(The final attack ! Die !)
He bet everything on this one finisher.
Moore who had poured all of his Prana began to swing his sword.
But at the next moment, red splash with a strange metal sound resonates after the two people intersected.
Two shadows passed each other in the blink of an eye.
Silence dominated the place.
Something warm flow out from his neck.
His respiratory trachea and oesophagus were completely cut off.
Something hot gets caught in his throat, and red blood begins to falls from Moore’s lips.
Power escaped Moore’s body all at once, and he fell to the ground.
(I see… This guy… magic arts…)
Moore certainly caught a glimpse of it.
The sight that can’t happen if Mikoshiba Ryouma could not use magic arts.
For Mikoshiba Ryouma to fill the distance within such a short amount of time. The moment he lost his strength, the moment his neck was being cut off…
All of Mikoshiba Ryouma’s aim.
And as well the meaning of the smile Mikoshiba Ryouma had when they met for the first time…
“Your Highness… Please forgive me…”
In his final moment of fading consciousness , Moore apologizes to Sardina for his unworthiness.
Although he understands that it was just for self-satisfaction…