NBAA Vol. 6 Chapter 4 Part 3
The next day, assigned to the last match of the morning, Reito was getting ready in a special waiting room. This time, he had fellow adventurers Gonzo and Dain, who had come in addition to Kotomin to cheer him on. Although it was not allowed to divulge the details of the job too carelessly to other people, Reito had convinced the higher-ups that they were trustworthy people and invited them in.
Before the match began, Reito distracted himself from his nervousness by chatting with his friends.
“Sorry you both had to come all the way out here.”
“Don’t worry about it, just focus on the battle ahead.”
Gonzo said these brief but warm words.
Meanwhile, Dain was still surprised about Luna’s true identity.
“I didn’t realize that Luna’s rumored identity was Reito… well, I was curious about the fact that she was a human who wielded a broadsword.”
Then Kotomin spoke to him.
“Tina and Linda are here to cheer you on as well, Reito.”
“I’m glad to hear that.”
This time, Ferris and her team were waiting in the spectator stands ahead of the others. Perhaps thanks to his recent success in the matches, the crowd had only increased on the days when “Luna” participated. Gonzo and the others could not enter the spectator stands because they were full. That is why they at least had to go before the match and cheer for “Luna”.
“The arena is really crowded these days… and even the cheap hotel I’m staying at is full because of the sudden increase in tourism in the city over the past few days.”
Dain said disgustedly.
Reito made a suggestion to Dain, “I remember that you are an adventurer from another guild. You should transfer to the Black Tigers, too.”
“I’ll never work for Bal again!”
Reito tilted his head at Dain, who shook his head vigorously to indicate his refusal. He still didn’t understand the relationship between him and Bal, although he had heard bits and pieces of the story from time to time. He thought they were as close as sisters and brothers, but why did they belong to different guilds?
Reito decided to take the plunge and ask.
“I’ve wondered for a while what Dain’s relationship is with Bal. I heard she used to take care of you…”
“It’s… well, I don’t really care. Don’t tell anyone.”
“Suramin says, ‘That guy is scared of commitment.’”
“You are only capable of saying ‘purupuru!!’ I actually…”
“Luna, the time for the match to start is approaching. It is time for you to get moving.”
Conveniently (for Dain) a soldier called for “Luna”.
Reito decided to save the story of Dain’s past for later and headed to the game field.
“Well, I’m off.”
“Come back safe!”
“You got this!”
“I’m going to miss Ullr…”
Ullr would have blown his cover, so he could not bring him to the arena. Regretful of this, Reito was about to slip out the door when Dain unexpectedly stopped him.
“Oh, wait! I forgot to give you this. Here, it’s my magic recovery medicine.”
“Oh, are you sure?”
“That’s a pretty good quality one,” he said. “But if you don’t use it in a match, give it back, will you?”
“Thanks. Who knows how today’s game will go…”
Receiving a potion from Dain to restore his magical powers, Reito headed out into the corridor. Then, under the guidance of a soldier, he headed for the playing field.
Several minutes later, he entered the match site and waited for his opponent. The match was set to be held on the same special cobblestone.
Rabby’s commentary from the live seats echoed through the arena: “Thank you for your patience! The match will start soon! Luna, the black and silver swordsman, has already appeared from the east gate! I wonder if she has recovered from yesterday’s match, but her opponent, this time, is a talented fighter from Wakoku! Hanzo!”
Rabby’s commentary was met with cheers.
Reito drew his weapon and continued to wait. It didn’t matter if he had his weapon ready before the match, as his match with Amelia showed.
Finally, the door was opened.
“Now, the players are entering! Oh! This is unexpected! Out comes a pretty, pretty, black-haired girl!”
“She’s so cute!”
“That’s the type of girl I like.”
A beautiful woman in a kimono with black hair appeared through the door wearing a hakama with a Japanese sword at her waist. Reito had assumed the opponent would be a man because of the name “Hanzo,” but was surprised to see a woman about the same age as Kagemaru.
Hanzo moved to the playing field and bowed her head in a well-mannered way to “Luna”.
“It will be an honor to battle with you.”
“Um, th-, thanks… wait?”
“Well then… let the games begin!”
Reito was confused by Hanzo’s level of formality.
“Well then… I will take the honor of starting this match.”
“Oh, she really keeps saying honor.”
Hanzo reached for the hilt of the long sword at her waist while Reito held up both his broad and long swords. It was the first time Reito would be facing someone using a Japanese sword, save for the time he fought Shun off the cuff. He was curious to see what kind of fighting techniques they would use, but there was no need to bother to find out.
Reito activated his “Gravity Strike” skill and plunged in from the start.
“What the hell?”
Hanzo was surprised to see Reito take the first move.
Hanzo’s expression changed when Reito swung his broadsword down lightly with one hand.
Immediately after, Reito’s broadsword slammed into the ground, causing a crack in the cobblestone playing field.
“What physical strength!
“Not yet! Stabbing! Thrust!!”
This time, Reito gripped the Reflection Sword and tried to stab Hanzo, who was standing at a distance. However, Hanzo pulled her Japanese sword out of its sheath and caught the move Reito had unleashed.
“Hey now… ‘Whirlwind’!!”
“What the hell!”
The blade of the Reflection Sword was repelled, but Reito immediately swung his broadsword to the side. However, Hanzo evaded with a light leap, despite the outfit that made it look like she would have a hard time moving. Remembering that his opponent was an assassin specialized in speed, Reito moved.
“Hey now!! Luna, with her mysterious moving technique, has once again moved behind Hanzo in an instant!”
Since “Shrink Ground” was utilized in the recent match, there was no need to hold back on using it. Moving to a spot where Hanzo seemed like she was going to land, Reito readied his weapon. In response, Hanzo thrust both feet, sending out shockwaves from the soles of his feet to change direction.
“Whoa… you can use Mr. Kagemaru’s skills too?!”
Reito clicked his tongue at Hanzo as she moved in the air. He sheathed his Reflection Sword, pointed his palms, and released his magic.
“There’s no need to hold back. It’s been a while… Ice Blade Bullets!”
Hanzo used a series of “Mail Carriers” in mid-air to evade Reito’s bullets consciously maneuvering toward Reito. She then grabbed her Japanese sword and pointed the blade at Reito’s torso.
Hanzo activated a battle technique that was a developed version of the “Battou” battle art, in which a sword is drawn from its sheath and used to attack. Hanzo slashed at Reito’s torso. However, her blade was repelled by his broadsword.
“What is this!? You avoid my Muramasa Maru sword attack…!?”
Although he quickly succeeded in defending himself, Reito had barely backed away from the sharp and heavy slash. Reito could not have imagined such a blow coming from her slender-looking arm. But when he immediately attacked with his broadsword, Hanzo used her “Mail Carrier” skill to avoid the attack, and when she landed, she put her sword back into its sheath.
“I see, you are indeed as good as I’ve heard… but next time, it’ll be my honor to slay you.”
“That ‘honor’ thing is a silly joke, right?”
“I have my reasons to use the word honor.”
“This is a great battle! The initial expectation was for an overwhelming victory for Luna, but it seems that Hanzo is as good as the young swordmaster!”
“What are you doing, Luna?”
“Get her, Hanzo!”
The crowd was excited. Reito pulled out his Reflection Sword and returned to fighting with two swords, and considered what strategy he would use to defeat Hanzo. Her “Mail Carrier” technique allows her to not only move at high speed but also to fly into the air, it was a tricky one to combat, but it is not as fast as Shrink Ground. Thinking calmly, Reito realized that he had learned only battle techniques specialized for close combat, and the magic he relied on would be meaningless if it did not hit the target.
“If this is the case, I should have learned shadow magic from Dain… No, no. I can’t imagine that would have gone well.”
If Dain had been here, he would have undoubtedly said, “What the hell does that mean?” and then he would have said, “I mean that you can’t learn shadow magic because you are a support magician.”
“If I may have the honor of asking, what are you talking about?”
Hanzo tilted her head at Reito’s mutterings. Reito thought he was whispering, but apparently, her hearing was acute.
Reito decided that the only way to finish off Hanzo was with a “Gale Strike,” which required speed and made a “Leap” himself with his two swords at the ready.
“What in the!”
“Mwah! You are quite fast if I have the honor to say so.”
Seeing Reito’s “Leap,” which he had trained in the forest, Hanzo jumped backward herself, and the two ran around the playing field. The sound of each other’s footsteps echoed violently, and some of the spectators began to turn their eyes to follow the bustling pair as they moved about.
“What is going on here? Both contestants are moving at an alarming speed! I mean, get on with the fight, you guys!”
“Don’t interfere with a serious and honorable fight!”
“Eek. I’m sorry.”
Yelling back at the commentator, Reito and Hanzo crossed blades at the exact moment they crossed paths, and the metallic sound echoed throughout the arena.
“Are they going even faster!?”
“What the hell is going on? I can’t see anything!”
Reito and Hanzo simultaneously activated their abilities and moved around the playing field. They moved at speeds invisible to normal spectators, and only the occasional metallic sounds showed that they were still fighting.
Hanzo released a blade in the form of a scabbard drawn from below, and Reito avoided it and swung down with his Reflection Sword and Extermination Blade.
“What the… ‘Spin’!!!”
Hanzo, who avoided the downward swinging blade just in time by moving to the right, returned the sword to its sheath and slashed, this time drawing the blade in a spinning motion. She could also use ordinary sword fighting techniques, even though she was an assassin.
Reito repelled Hanzo’s attack with his large sword and then kicked forward at her.
Hanzo caught the kick with her palm and used the recoil to jump over Reito’s head. While doing so, she also put her sword back into its sheath.
(Do you have to put it back in the sheath every time to use it?)
Reito took a moment to distance himself from her. He was impressed by her swordsmanship.
She caught her breath and looked for an opening as they faced each other.
“You are indeed a ‘man of action’… but I will use my secret sword, that I will!”
“Your secret sword?”
Hanzo closed his eyelids and drew her sword from its sheath. Reito noticed the change in her mood and readied his two swords. He was anticipating an attack but Hanzo didn’t move.
She took a breath, as if sharpening her concentration, and eventually opened her eyes. The moment he looked into those eyes, Reito sensed a strange presence and held his broadsword up like a shield.
Immediately thereafter, Hanzo leaped forward and instantly moved into strike range, thrusting her sword into the air.