The red energy coursed through her body. White fumes rose into the air as the ice rapidly began to melt. Well, this will be interesting. I thought. And then her eyes opened and she looked straight at me.
“Now I can see you. Your skills with Presence Block are incredible.”
“Not quite. It’s all in the equipment.”
“Hmph. I won’t be fooled so easily. Who are you?”
She asked as she unsheathed a single-edged blade. I was the one who should be asking that question.
“Why don’t you answer that first? You are a brave bandit for trying to steal from one of the eight great houses.”
“I’m no bandit. This…is a mission!”
Her arm prepared to strike as she charged forward. I ducked and then jumped back.
“You’ve been doing an awful job then. Are you new?”
“We are the elite!”
I spun around and blocked her upward slash with Ashikirimaru. I then tried to push her back, but she turned it to the side. She was quick to switch from offensive to defensive. In terms of combat at least, she was pretty decent.
“A mission to steal from someone?”
“It is my duty to obey the client!”
This time I parried her attack with my left gauntlet and then punched with my right hand, which was gripping the shortsword. I couldn’t let my guard down when dealing with someone who was armed. I jumped back after hitting her in the shoulder. I wanted to find out who this person was before arresting her.
The Carteruza’s were nobles. There was no doubt they would use torture when it came to questioning. And that was something I had a distaste for. Daniela’s more playful bedroom antics being an entirely separate matter. Knowing where this would all lead, being able to avoid all that and extract the information myself would prove that I was a capable man.
“I know that you’re after the Automata. That was sold through an official transaction. It’s not something you can take.”
“It is not for us to decide what is right and wrong!”
“It’s a bad idea! This is Carteraza. Surely they are more powerful than whoever is backing you?”
“…! That doesn’t matter! Get out of my way!”
She growled and held her sword out as she charged. I was going to parry the attack and move behind her, but had to jump away instead. She had suddenly raised her sword to slash. The starlight glimmered over the blade’s tip as it missed me by a hair’s breadth. My body felt lighter because of the cape. I could jump pretty high even without Legs of the God Wolf. I was feeling really good about my shopping choices…
“Give up. You can’t beat me.”
“Don’t be so sure. I’ll kill you and rescue the others. We’ll finish the mission!”
That was some hot-blooded loyalty. Would it be very difficult to persuade her…?
Well, in that case, I would just have to use overwhelming force. I put away the shortsword and created an Ice Sword in my empty hand. This could be done in an instant when I am wearing ice dragon armor. Still, it was really just a second’s difference.
“…So, you were holding back all alone.”
“I told you to stop. If you won’t, I’ll have to make you!”
From that point, the battle was vicious. As Eyes of the God Wolf was tiring to use, I switched to Night Eyes and could see her very clearly. And like that, I dodged her swings, blocked, and made it known that she was no match for me. I thought it would all be over once her sword went flying into the air. But then, just like me, she conjured a sword made of fire and attacked. A Flame Sword, huh? In that case, a Water Sword would be better to get rid of it. As Daniela said, you could annihilate magic by hitting it with the same attribute or with the same amount of energy. While ice was weaker, I could push through if I used three times as much energy, but that was an unnecessary gamble.
Once I had broken through her trump card, she finally fell to her knees.
“Give up. I don’t mean to kill you.”
“Your intentions…mean nothing.”
True. But I still wanted to keep my hands clean. Perhaps they had a reason for doing this. And so I couldn’t just kill them. That’s what I was. A weak human.
“I can negotiate for you. But you have to talk to me first.”
“…You want me to trust you?”
She looked up and stared at me. It was written all over her face. Circumstances. Obviously, there were things I could and couldn’t do. But I intended to do my best.