It’s Training! (4)
Translator: Billy Stevens
The two swords clashed at a breakneck pace as the two swordsmen stormed across the battlefield . Kayrach and Pram were almost evenly matched . Countless exchanges happened in an instant; it was a meticulous sword dance, equal parts elegant and deadly .
Kayrach pulled his sword back and lunged towards his foe . It was a perfect display of his refined and unrelenting nature of his swordsmanship; his sword had been honed to the utmost limit . Pram was aware that attempting to block his strike would be reckless . After parrying the blow, Pram closed the gap and began his counterattack . Slash, thrust, slash . Pram used his overwhelming speed to force Kayrach back . Without any time to retaliate, the captain could only parry and interrupt the surging tidal wave of attacks .
“You’ve certainly improved, boy— however…” Kayrach crossed swords with his opponent and shoved him off balance . As a result of Pram’s unsteady footing, there was no way for him to follow the snaking sword; with its path changing like a willow tree in the wind . Any time Pram tried to trace its trajectory, its direction would change .
‘Free-form Sword!’ Pram had never faced this kind of swordsmanship before .
“A strong sword is weak against a fast sword; a fast sword is weak against an ever-changing sword . ”Over the course of the fight, Pram maintained his trademark speed, but it had become repetitive and easy to read . In contrast, Kayrach adapted his style over the course of the fight, surmounting the difference in speed and taking control of the fight once more . No matter what Pram did, Kayrach held the upper hand . It would be impossible to persist at this rate, let alone win the duel . Pram retreated two steps . Without missing a beat, magic began to manifest around Kayrach .[Ground Hole]
The ground underneath Pram began to sink, wrapping around his ankles and dragging him into the earth . “Your speed is quite annoying— I suppose most of the people you’ve faced have been focused on restricting your movements . ” Simultaneously, Kayrach leaped towards Pram . “It’s over, boy . ”
In that moment, the ground beneath Pram shattered . The clash of the two swords rang out, and Pram disappeared from his gaze . “What?”
Kayrach was a step too slow . As he looked over his shoulder, he found Pram directly behind him with a grin on his face . A split second later, his lapel fell off . In that brief moment, he had been unable to track Pram’s movement . This was Pram’s peak performance .
“You allowed yourself to get caught to create a diversion . ” Kayrach reflected on the fight and lauded Pram for his decision making .
Pram scratched the back of his head bashfully . “I got lucky . ” As always, Pram was humble to a fault .
“No . That was no accident . That last attack… it was a good strike . It’s the first time I’ve ever seen such a technique . ”
“I was just thinking about whether it was possible to attack and evade at the same time and had to give it a try . I haven’t even decided on a name for it yet . ”
Off to the side of the battlefield, a voice called out to the victorious student . “You won . ” Pram turned his head over in the direction of the voice . There, Desir was seated on a bench . Pram’s face glowed and he called out to his party leader . “I finally did it! I managed to win against Mr . Kayrach!” As he bragged about his exploits, he stuck out his head in anticipation .
Desir smiled . “I know . I was watching . ” He reached out and patted Pram’s head, who closed his eyes as he snuggled up to his touch . Desir truly thought that Pram did an amazing job . ‘I thought if he was lucky, he’d be able to fight Kayrach to a draw, but I didn’t think he’d actually pull through with a win . ’ Under Desir’s guidance, Pram was developing rapidly . To win against a 2nd Circle spellsword, Pram will soon be sitting at the top of the Knight-rank swordsmen . This level of growth was several times faster than his previous life .
Kayrach spoke up . “Well, does this mean that training is over?”
“Thank you very much for all of your hard work, Sir Kayrach . ” Desir bowed to the captain .
“Haha— it was nothing . I, too, learned something from the experience . I have a long ways to go . ” Kayrach turned to Pram and lowered his head in apology . “You’ve done well, boy . I want to apologize for my harsh language when we initially met . Can you forgive me?”
“Of course, sir! Provocation during battle is natural,” said Pram .
“Thank you . Before I leave, I have one last thing to ask you . Boy, are you… are you really a guy?”
July 17th— 3 days until the Shadow World occurrence .
A message was broadcast to the entire academy .
| Ahem . To all students: Please pay attention and listen to this broadcast . The current time is July 16th, 6:20am . A Shadow World has been detected, expected occurrence: 3 days .
| Hebrion Academy will be deploying onto the battlefield . A call order will be issued to parties in accordance with Section 21 of the school’s rules and regulations . Please follow the instructions of your party leader .
| All classes will be postponed for a week . During this time, you will be trained to participate in the Shadow World . Runegear will be issued to your party leader . If you are a 1st year who has not been given a uniform, please ensure that you receive one .
Desir entered the office carrying three sets of clothes . Runegear— magical equipment embedded with shielding magic to protect the students from harm . The use of Runegear was a staple for everybody who entered the Shadow World . The Runegear itself looked like a tailored coat . A single blue jeweled badge adorned the lapel .
As he distributed the Runegear to the rest of his party, he explained to them the usage of their new uniform . “For lack of a better word, this is Runegear for Single Rankers . Speaking in terms of defensive capabilities, it’s about on par with what other students wear . However, this specific Runegear that we’ve received have been tailored to address some of our weaknesses .
Desir went to the kitchen and grabbed an egg that he placed within his Runegear . “Previous models of Runegear could only be tuned to protect from either physical or magical attacks due to the nature of Magic Crystals . However, with recent technological breakthroughs, the Tower of Magic has synthesized a new material that protects from both types of attacks simultaneously . ” To demonstrate this, Desir smashed the egg and deployed a fireball at the same time . The Runegear shimmered in response to the incoming threats . “With these new developments, the defensive magic will only fail when the attacks exceed the maximum output of the Magic Crystal . ” He unfolded the Runegear and took out the egg in perfect condition .
Pram applauded enthusiastically and spoke excitedly . “That’s amazing, Mr . Desir!”
“Haha— you’re impressed much too quickly, Pram . If you think this is impressive, you’re going to faint when you see this . Can you put your Runegear on?” As Pram grabbed the bracelet from the table, he donned his uniform and stood at attention in front of Desir . “Now draw your sword and imagine putting it away . ”
As Pram imagined putting his sword away, his sword instantly disappeared in a flash of light . “Mr . Desir?!” His rapier had disappeared and he was getting anxious at the thought of losing it for a second time .
“Don’t worry, you’ve stored your sword in a subspace pocket . In order to bring it back, you just have to do the same thing you did before: imagine unsheathing your sword . ” Following Desir’s instructions, a flock of lights gathered around Pram before his beloved sword appeared in his hands once again . “The weight of a Blanksum sword is nigh zero, but one cannot say the same for the scabbard . In order to maximize your speed, you should try to reduce your overall weight as much as possible . ”
Next up was Romantica . Desir offered her a long stick in the shape of a flat iron rod . Romantica was puzzled at what she was being offered, but she took a hold of it anyway . As she put her hands on the rod, her badge gave off a blue glow and the shape of the rod started to change . The interlocking iron components clicked into place, and a peculiar shape began to emerge in her hands .
“What is this?”
“It’s called a sniper rifle . ”
In the Shadow Labyrinth, this was Romantica’s weapon of choice . Using his knowhow from working with Zod in the past, he had taught the engineer the idea behind the sniper rifle and ended up commissioning Zod to make it . ‘It’s weaker than her previous weapon, but she’ll have to get used to using this one first . ’ Her previous weapon used a 2nd Class Magic Crystal that offered significantly higher firepower .
Desir went into broad explanations as to how to use the rifle: which end to point at the enemy, how to steady herself when preparing to fire, and the best positions from which to use the rifle . “The rifle will integrate with the Runegear in order to operate . Its uses are primarily to amplify your magic and extend the radius of your detection magic . With the use of the rifle, you’ll be as powerful as a 4th Circle magician .
“4th Circle Magician?” questioned Romantica . She stared at the weapon in her hands in disbelief .
“With your casting speed and ample cover, you’ll become the rock that supports the rest of our party . ”
Romantica blushed at Desir’s words and promised to do her best .
“I’m just doing whatever I can for my party . I’m sure you guys would do the same for me . ”
The performance of the magical equipment developed by Zod was beyond Desir’s imagination . The quality of the items were far higher than he had expected . ‘That’s a genius for you . ’ He silently thanked Zod, and then turned his gaze back towards his two party members . Fully equipped in their Runegear, the two stood at attention in front of Desir . He felt a thrum of pride looking at his two party members, and vowed to help them exceed their past selves .
“Now all that’s left is suppressing the Shadow World . ”