Arnold: 「Shit! Mind telling me how it came to this again?」
Currently, Arnold was desperately dodging the sword slash that Beast Kind Leowald had unleashed . Although he has been barely evading it since earlier, if Leowald were to land a decent blow on him, it would undoubtedly become fatal .
Leowald: 「Hora hora(1), what’s wrong Arnold?! If that’s all you got then I can’t bring you along, you know?!」
Without moving an inch from his spot, Leowald swung down a giant sword, worthy of his stature, as he aimed for the Arnold, the one who was right before his eyes .
Accompanied by a noise that sounded like the air had been cut and torn apart, the pressure generated by the sword came flying towards Arnold, as if it was a blade of wind .
Rarashik: 「If all you do is evade, you won’t be able to defeat the enemy!」
Arnold: 「E-Even if you tell me tha~a~a~t-!」
While Arnold was fending off Leowald’s attacks with full force, he began to resent Rarashik’s remarks internally .
At that time, Rarashik mentioned that she would participate in the duel with the 『Evila』 under the condition that she could bring Arnold and Muir . It went without saying that it wasn’t merely the two who were mentioned that were surprised . Leowald, Mimiru, and even the all the soldiers present had expressed astonishment .
However, in the midst of this, Rarashik simply spoke the following with a grin .
Rarashik: 『How do I say this, I’m fairly certain that you know that these guys are my disciples . This will probably be a good experience for them . 』
Of course, Arnold refused . He mainly expressed his distaste due to Muir’s participation . He didn’t really mind if he himself had been elected . As he had fought his way up to this point, he was confident that he had grown stronger thanks to the training that he had received .
Although he would be participating, as the opponent’s side would obviously have the 《Cruel》, his chances of winning would be considerably low . Yet, even so, if it was for the sake of his country, he would not hesitate to fight .
However, Muir was different . She had yet to fight a full-fledged battle besides her encounters with monsters and Rarashik . Furthermore, she had yet to experience a fight where one would have to risk their life .
It was precisely because of this that this duel was important for her, or so Rarashik had said . However, from Arnold’s perspective, it was still too early for her to participate in such battles .
It was needless to say that Arnold was aware that Muir was working hard in order to become stronger . In fact, Arnold thought that Muir had indeed become stronger . Yet, in spite of this, he was still not convinced that he should allow her to participate in such a war .
Muir: 『But, if I go there, then I’ll be able to meet Hiiro-san(3), right?』
In the face of Muir’s words, Rarashik nodded . And then-
Rarashik: 『Don’t you want to show him how strong you’ve become?」
At those words, Muir’s resolve had been determined . Seeing her firm expression, Arnold’s shoulders drooped . He did not expect that things would turn out in such a manner .
However, it was not Leowald, but the one who was near him, Barid, who gave a voice of complaint . The contents of such complaint was regarding doubts about Arnold and Muir’s strength .
Even if they were Rarashik’s disciples, the opponent had requested this confrontation while practically demanding that the Gabranth prepare their best forces . If they were to present half-baked individuals in this duel, the one who would be shamed would be the king himself .
It is precisely because of this that Barid doubted the two’s ability . Rarashik and Leowald had also thought that this was natural .
Therefore, Leowald issued a certain condition . He said that he would consider it if they could cause a scratch on his body, even if the wound was a mere scrape .
Following this, as everyone headed towards the square where the soldiers were training, it was suddenly decided that they would hold a sparring match there . Furthermore, the setup was that it would be both Arnold and Muir against Leowald .
Arnold: 「Muir! I’ll try to somehow block the next blow so you go on the offensive!」
Although both Muir and Leowald’s offensive power was tremendous, even after they had been fighting for a long time, the fact that he had not moved from his starting position since the beginning of the match was a tribute to the king’s strength . Muir, filled with awe towards such a king, spoke in a voice that attempted to dispel such feelings .
Muir: 「Please take care as well, Oji-san!」(5)
Watching these two, Leowald happily laughed .
Leowald: 「Hohou(7), you’re going to try something? Then I guess I should bring my strength up a level, huh?」
Saying this, the large sword that he was holding began to release a fine vibration as it gradually reddened, as if it were being tinged with heat .
Leowald: 「Now, how will you respond to this, you two!? 《Flame Fang》-!」
As he swung down the large sword that he had raised high in the sky, this time, as if it was wearing flames, a bright red sword blast came flying towards the two .
Arnold: 「Ku-! It’s coming-!」
Arnold also began to concentrate power into his large sword . As he did so, the wind began to converge onto the sword .
A sound that shook the atmosphere could be heard coming from Arnold’s sword . Following this, he simply turned towards the sword blast and began to assault it .
Arnold received Leowald’s flying sword blast head on .
Almost as if two knives had been rubbed together, the noise of impact roared .
Arnold: 「Nugu……ku-! Uwoo-!」
In order to protect Muir who was behind him, Arnold, who was slightly losing his ground, stood firm so as to ensure that he wasn’t blown away .
Leowald: 「Hou, not bad . 」
Witnessing Arnold block a blow that he had place a reasonable amount of force into, Leowald narrowed his eyes due to Arnold’s unexpected power .
As Arnold had swung his sword with all his might, he was able to successfully tear through and pulverise the sword blast .
Arnold: 「Now, Mui~~~r-!」
Behind Arnold, Muir was present, her lovely set of Kemono-mimi twitching with a *pikopiko*(10) . Every time that those ears moved, the crackling resembling a discharge phenomenon occurred .
Muir: 「Go! 《Fangs of Lightning》-!」
Muir vigorously shook her hands one by one, from bottom to top . As she did so, like how Leowald had launched his sword blasts earlier, a pillar of lightning had been emitted from her hand .
As she had two hands, two columns of thunder had been created . As if to avoid Arnold, the pillars split off to the left and right before rushing towards Leowald, who was in front of him .
As Leowald had instantly understood that Muir was a user of 《Binding》 that possessed the element of lightning, although his thoughts had halted for a split second, his expression soon reverted to normal as he wielded his large sword in an attempt to mow down the incoming thunder pillars .
Although it was thought that he had completely captured the columns of lightning, strangely, as if they had a will of their own, the pillars completely evaded the sword’s attack . Following this, a pincer attack came from both sides and-
*Bachi bachi bachi bachi bachi bachi bachi bachiiiiii-!* (12)
-splendidly landed a direct hit on Leowald .
He involuntarily scowled . Muir, who had saw this, smiled with pleasure as she thought that her attack had hit it’s mark . However-
As Leowald placed all his strength into his entire body, his muscles began to inflate . At the same time, the lightning that had wrapped around his body was blown away .
Leowald: 「Gahaha! I was slightly surprised, but you won’t be able to make a scratch on me with just this?」
Certainly, Leowald had not suffered a single wound due to Muir’s attack . However, Muir-
Muir: 「No, just this much is fine!」
It was then that Leowald had noticed Arnold’s imperceptible disappearance .
Leowald: 「Mu? Where did he go?」
As he spoke, he felt a presence in the sky above him . There, the figure of Arnold was present, his large sword being cloaked in wind like what had happened earlier that fight .
Arnold: 「How’s this-!? 《Wind Faaaaaang》-!」
Leowald: 「That lightning was just a distraction! However, I won’t let you!」
Leowald also readied his sword by reflex . As the two swords collided, sparks began to fly . Furthermore, due to the two’s powers colliding, a small explosion occurred .
Having been blown away by the shock wave, Arnold rolled up to where Muir was standing .
Muir rushed over in a split second .
While painfully rubbing his butt that had received a nasty blow, Arnold waited for the smoke before his eyes to dissipate . Following this, a large shadow appeared .
Leowald was laughing with his large sword slung over his shoulder .
Leowald: 「I guess I slightly underestimated you! You two aren’t bad at all!」
It was then that Arnold and Muir both understood why he was laughing .
Leowald: 「Gahaha! To think, not only did you scratch me, but you launched me all the way over here!」
Indeed . From where he was earlier, it was clear that his position had been displaced further backwards . Furthermore, when Arnold and Leowald’s swords collided, as his attack had become a fine blade of wind, he was able to make a scratch on his body .
Of course, if you were looking at it in terms of damage, it would almost be nil . However, it was true that the fine sword had engraved a number of wounds on Leowald’s body .
Leowald: 「Furthermore, you only used the elementary 《Fangs》 . This is……they’ve been honed quite well, Rara . 」
While saying this with an elated grin, Leowald shifted his gaze towards Rarashik .
Rarashik: 「Eeh(16), that’s because I showed these guys hell everyday . If they weren’t able to do this, I would have made them start their training from the beginning . 」
At these words, the two’s faces grew pale as they felt a chill creeping up their spines . It appeared that their bodies had remembered the contents of their training as they began to tremble .
Leowald: 「Gahaha! Certainly, there are still doubts as to their individual abilities but…I see . We should make sure to properly bring those that shine! That is the the 『Gabranth』 way! Gahahahaha!」
At this, Leowald turned his face towards Barid .
Leowald: 「How’s that, Barid? I felt that these individuals had a good amount of resolve, but?」
Barid: 「…………very well . With this, it would not pose a problem if we were to bring them to the duel . 」
Leowald: 「-is what he said . However, there is still one week before the duel . Until then, I myself shall train you . 」
Rarashik: 「Hou~ . So it’s been decided, yes?」
Towards Rarashik’s question, Leowald nodded vigorously .
Leowald: 「Aa, let’s achieve victory together! Arnold! Muir!」
Seeing him once again fearlessly laugh, Arnold and Muir’s cheeks twitched .
Arnold: 「T-This turned into something unbelievable, huh……」
Muir: 「U-un……but with this, I’ll be able to meet him……right?」
Arnold: 「……seems so . 」
Muir: 「……although I don’t like the enemy’s side . 」
Arnold: 「That guy doesn’t care about stuff like that, right?」
Muir: 「Ahaha, you might be right . 」
Arnold: 「Besides, Leowald-sama also said something about bringing Hiiro over to this side, you know?」
Muir: 「F-For some reason, Hiiro-san has become liked by a really amazing person, huh?」
Arnold: 「Seems so . It was kinda unexpected that he was thinking of making Mimiru-sama’s son-in-law……Hii-!」
As Arnold suddenly saw a Hannya(17) behind Muir, he raised a scream . Although the person herself was smiling, for some reason, it was a smile that reeked of lies .
Muir: 「Ahaha……I’m really looking forward to seeing him . Isn’t that right, Oji-san?」
Arnold: 「Ah……un . That’s right . 」
As Arnold felt a bleak sensation emanating from Muir’s voice, he cowered . Although he had an idea about why her attitude had changed, if he was to pursue it, there was no doubt that sparks would fly . Therefore, he had restrained himself from doing so .
Arnold: (Daamn it! Hiiro, you bastard! You better remember this! But, it’s true that I’m looking forward to meeting again . Just you wait, Hiiro! I’ve already decided that I’m going to give your face one good punch!)
He looked up at the cloudless sky . Arnold’s thoughts held a strong resolve towards Hiiro, the one who was once his adventuring companion .