BBYW Vol. 1 Interlude 9

 

Interlude 9 – A New Hero Swings His Sword

 

(He’s something. Quite like a young lion…no, a young dragon.)

Zagann praised the young boy before him as he swung his 【Seiten Taisei】.

He made his halberd lighter, swung it, and slammed it down after making it heavy again. It sounded simple in words, but it was the very reason why Zagann had buried countless enemies in his military career, the technique that made him undefeated.

Each one of his blows could be lethal, but the boy, who barely had any experience in battle, managed to parry them all.

If he took any of the halberd’s attacks head-on, their weight would crush him easily: the boy seemed to know that too, as he nimbly deflected them all with his blade.

Not only that, but he was even ready to strike back as soon as he found an opening.

How could there be so much audacity in such a small body? Even in a situation where the slightest misstep meant death, the boy continued fighting against an opponent superior to him.

(In 10 years…no, even only 5 years he could have surpassed me in military prowess. His attack on my troops was incredibly well executed…as a strategist, he already rivals Halphas. Truly regrettable to be forced to crush such budding talent here.)

But that was also the reason why Zagann absolutely had to crush such budding talent then and there.

Zagann was sure that, if left alone, the boy would surely grow to threaten the empire’s very existence.

“Woooohhhh!!!”

Zagann’s attacks became even fiercer.

To protect the empire’s future. To remove a menace that could destroy the empire. Zagann unleashed every ounce of his military might.

 

◯ ◯ ◯

 

“Woooohhhh!!!”

(This is bad!! Damndamndamn!!!)

I continued parrying Zagann’s attacks, one more powerful than the last, while screaming internally.

If I received even only one of the halberd’s strikes, I was definitely a goner.

Those were the attacks I continued to barely evade, as if walking on a shaky tightrope above certain death.

(If only…if only I could block at least one…)

Zagann was undoubtedly a veteran of the battlefield. His offensive had no openings, leaving not even the smallest chance for a counterattack.

If only I could block the halberd’s attacks once, if only I could knock it away, I could maybe have the chance to strike back.

(Yeah right!! No way!! He’s going to crush me!!)

It was a completely reckless idea, however.

The attacks of the halberd freely changing from light to heavy were powerful enough to shatter boulders. How could a thin blade like mine block them?

(I have to…find another way…!)

『Are you sure about that?』

(Eh?)

『Are you really sure you can’t stop it? Why don’t you try.』

(What the? Who the hell are you!?)

I was straining my brain at full throttle to find a way out, but suddenly something interrupted my thoughts.

It wasn’t someone else’s voice, nor a message from above or anything. That voice sounded just like my own.

『Try it. You might be able to stop it, actually.』

(No way!! I can feel it, I’ll just get crushed!!)

『Even if you stay on the defensive like this, you’ll eventually die. Why not take a bet instead, Sink or swim, live or die.』

(That’s…no, it can’t be…)

The voice in my head offered no proof to its words, it was like a devil whispering in my ears.

Strangely enough, however, I did not feel I should ignore it, and felt compelled to follow its advice instead.

“WOOOHHHH!!!”

“Kh…! Damn you…!”

Zagann’s offensive became even fiercer, and my face twisted into a grimace.

I was going to run out of energy first, definitely. I could already feel the cold scythe of the grim reaper pushing against my neck.

『If you die here it’s all over. It will mean you were only that much of a man.』

『But if you are worth more than that』

『Dyngir Maxwell, you…I can become a hero.』

『Or the evil dragon that devours them — !!!』

“HAAAAHHHH!!!”

I knew the next blow was going to decide my fate. I mustered all the strength I had and, obeying the voice in my head, blocked Zagann’s halberd.

“What the…!?”

Zagann was shocked.

His facial features clearly showed that he couldn’t believe his eyes.

“So…heavy…!!”

I gripped my sword with one hand, using the other to support the blade and block the halberd.

The blow delivered by Zagann’s arms was so heavy I could feel my own arms turning numb.

However — my sword was not broken. My bones were not crushed.

“The weight manipulation is gone!? Kh…!!”

“You’re not getting away!!”

Zagann faltered for a mere split second. But in that split second, I could step closer to him.

“HAAAHHHH!!!”

“Nnngh!!”

I’m going to die — so thought Zagann, as he activated his trump card.

It was another way to use 【Seiten Taisei】— to turn the enemy’s weapon lighter and reduce the strength of its attacks.

No matter what kind of attack the enemy unleashed, without mass its power would become nothing too.

“Destroy!! 【Siegfried】!!”

“Ghah..!? This can’t be…!!”

My slash reached Zagann.

It nullified 【Seiten Taisei】’s magic effects, tore through his heavy armor, deeply scarring his robust body.

“This is the end!! Bjorc Zagann!!”

“Kh…not so fast…!!”

I immediately followed with another slash, to finish him off.

Zagann, however, jumped backward with incredible agility.

He had distanced himself from me with speed and momentum defying gravity, escaping the range of any follow-up attacks I could do.

“Kh…hah…that sword…is a magic tool too…!?”

“Yeah, so it seems. I just found out too, actually!”

The sword gifted to me by mother apparently had the power to nullify the abilities of other magic tools — the power to nullify magic.

I did not know the reason why, but now I perfectly knew how to use the sword, as well as its name, 【Siegfried】.

“I see, so the magic tool taught you to…! I have even more reason to not let you go…! I am going to kill you here and now, even at the cost of my life!!”

“Really now! It’s an honor to hear that from the empire’s hero!”

The wound I inflicted on Zagann was not shallow. Blood was flowing continuously from the gash opened in his armor.

On the other hand, I was still unscathed, but I was sweating profusely, on the brink of collapsing from exhaustion.

Our conditions were approximately the same: no one could tell who would win.

“Too bad for you, though.”

“What?”

“Sadly, this is war. Don’t go saying I’m cheating, all right?”

“Protect the young master!! Shoot!!”

“Wh—!?”

Arrows rained on Zagann from above.

Salm had come back who knows when and had gathered the scattered Maxwell soldiers and executed well-timed cover fire.

“Gwooooohhhh!!!”

Zagann spun his halberd to knock down the arrows, but could not prevent them all from piercing his body.

I took advantage of that opening to close in again.

“HAAAHHHHH!!!”

“WOOOOHHHH!!!”

Zagann noticed my attack and blocked it with the halberd. Our arms were locked as our weapons clashed.

“Ladd!!”

“Take thiiisss!!!”

“GWAAAHHHH!!!”

Ladd jumped in from the side and swung down his broadsword, aiming at Zagann’s arms.

The imperial general’s thick arms were both severed and fell on the ground, together with the halberd.

Zagann’s legs too lost their strength and he collapsed as if kneeling.

I swung my sword to give him the coup de grace, but— 

“…your name.”

“Eh?”

“I didn’t ask for your name…young man.”

“That’s true.”

I nodded and gave a final gesture of mercy to the old dying general.

“Dyngir Maxwell, prodigal son of the Maxwell house. You were definitely stronger than me. I am proud from the bottom of my heart that the opponent of my first battle was the hero Bjorc Zagann.”

“I see…I must thank you for such a final battle…young dragon of the Maxwell house.”

“My pleasure…farewell.”

I swung down my sword.

Zagann’s head detached from his body, and a spray of blood erupted on the mountaintop.

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