38 – Falling Leaf
That was the total amount of time that I used between the first fight and the third.
It was the result of strictly adhering to the Lord Count’s order of ‘instant kill.’
However, as for how the spectators were taking it, the atmosphere had become rather ominous. Every time I stepped out, the buzzing and murmurs echoed around me.
Even when I won, the reaction was, ‘Oh…’ What the hell?
Thankfully, the commentators were greatly excited every time.
And then came the fourth battle.
It was the last one for the day, and would determine the Top 8.
‘…Now, the moment has arrived! The final card of the day! The greatest east corner dark horse in the tournament’s history! The mystery fighter who has taken down all of his opponents in less than ten seconds, without even unsheathing his blade! Who is this man? And cannot anyone stop him!? Here he is, Yukito!!’
‘Where did Count Orlando even find him?’
‘Indeed! And from the west corner! Another fighter who has won every fight without being hit! He has easily proven why he is considered most likely to win! With that magic spear, he has been peerless! Here he comes, Eliot!’
Eliot waved his hand as women screamed and cheered.
“…So, what trickery did you use?”
He said, once we were facing each other.
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“Well, it doesn’t matter. I will soon tear off the monster’s disguise.”
Said Eliot, and then he turned towards Ms. Iria and made his hand in the shape of a pistol.
I will shoot your heart. Blech.
“No matter what kind of trickery you use, it won’t work on me.”
Suddenly, I was more interested in listening to this handsome man’s boasts.
Or rather, I wanted to hear them before I gave him a beating.
As the gong was sounded, magic energy crackled around his spear.
“Feel your powerlessness before my magic spear!”
As Eliot swung, a swirl of fire erupted, tailing the path he drew in the air.
And not just that. He unleashed two, and then three fire bullets. His movements did not stop. Waves of spear and magic attacks came crashing without end.
“How do you like it? My magic spear!”
“Can’t really say.”
I lightly dodged while observing his movements.
Magic spear. Enveloping your spear with magic energy, which activates magic through the remnants left with every swing… That seemed to sum it up.
It was a little different from using ki. I see. So you could use it like that…
Well, in any case.
Clang. With that sound, the spear bounced up in the air.
Don’t act so surprised.
His swings were so wild. He might as well have been asking for me to do it.
On top of that, it seemed that if the trajectory changed too much, the magic did not activate.
‘If no one else, I want you to destroy young Eliot. To the point where he will never speak of my daughter again. So he will never even think of it.’
I recalled the Count’s words. He must really hate him. Or perhaps it was just how fathers are.
Not just defeat him. But beat him thoroughly.
In other words, break his spirit.
I muttered as I unsheathed my sword.
And then I focused on my magic energy and enveloped my sword with it. A little different than ki—enveloping instead of turning.
‘Yu-Yukito has unsheathed his sword!’
‘It’s no ordinary sword! That is…a magic sword!?’
Walking technique—White Water.
With one step, I was right in front of him.
His eyes had lost me completely. When I was this close.
This situation. It was already over—however, the white blade only slid over his neck, as if to trace a line.
The skin of his neck opened. Then it healed immediately, the effect of the bracelet. However, then it opened again, and this time, it did not heal.
Not just his neck. His entire body. The countless slash attacks, their trajectory became wind blades that bound him completely.
Upon hearing my words, sweat trickled down Eliot’s forehead.
The more he moved, the more he would be cut. And in the end, he would die. —No, he wouldn’t die. Because the bracelet would take the damage.
“Impossible… You…a magic sword wielder…”
“No. I just learned from watching you.”
Eliot’s mouth opened in shock.
What did it mean to destroy someone? To break their spirit?
Beating them on their own turf. That was what I thought.
And so this was the answer.
“Still, it would be faster to just cut.”
That was just it. The magic only activated after you swung. But there would be no need to even activate it if you cut normally.
Not only that, but as the magic blades were hitting me too, they obstructed my own movements.
In other words, if this was not a game, and if I wanted to—I could have turned him into pieces of flesh in an instant.
Eliot seemed to realize this, as his face turned pale.
“You, you relied too much on that magic part and ignored what is important. Honing actual spear skills. You should probably start again, with the basics.”
“…Don’t…mock me. I passed the basics a long time…”
“The basics never end.”
Repeating them. No matter how good you get or don’t get, it doesn’t matter.
The sword that I had been captivated with was like that.
Suddenly, the magic blades that bound him disappeared.
As he stumbled to the ground, I told him to brace himself.
“My parting gift.”
He went into a defensive stance.
—What are the basics?
An endless road. Walking through wildlands, as if for eternity.
But because of that, there is something you can arrive at. I know.
As the fire-enveloped spear rushed towards me…I just raised my sword, like I always did.
—Cutting Form, Falling Leaf.
In other words, it was just one basic swing that had been perfected.
Nothing fancy. No tricks.
The old man had said. That was what the way of the sword was. Reaching the peak of a simple swing.
Instead of magic energy, it was charged with ki.
My insides were like the surface of water.
And then the sword fell.
Like a leaf falling quietly into the water’s surface.
—The single swing, cut through both fire and spear.
The damage was completely absorbed, and the bracelet flashed red as it shattered without making a sound.
Eliot…was unconscious, with his eyes rolled back into his head.
It was a good thing I had used the flat of my blade… Otherwise, he might have gone with the bracelet.
And then I realized that the arena was dead quiet. The commentators, spectators. Everything. As if time had stopped.
But then it was shattered—as expected, by the girl on the speakers.
‘Th-the fight is over!!!’
At the same time. My victory was announced on the screen above my head.
I sighed with relief—but before I turned around, I looked at the spectator seats.
The VIP seats…there.
Ah, it was not difficult to find the large, bald man. As he was staring at me with a pale face.
I stared back at him quietly. And for just a second, let him know I wanted him dead.
He jumped in his seat.
After seeing Viscount Fobius fall to the ground, I turned away.
(Was that alright? Well, I suppose the Count will take care of the rest.)
The only thing left for me to do was to win.