SETP Vol. 1 Chapter 28
Chapter 28 – The Spirit Tribe
“If you’ll go as far as to say that, then…”
Did she finally make up her mind?
Feli slowly unsheathed the sword I gave her.
“I will use all I have to stop you…!”
She spoke forcefully, while looking all around herself.
Could she see something? Was there something there?
Or maybe she was preparing to do something.
Even if it was something to surprise me, there was nothing my “Spada” could not cut.
I could tell the edges of my mouth were turning up.
How much time passed since I last dueled with no holds barred?
I disliked the sword.
Even so, I was a swordsman through and through, I lived my life together with my sword.
No matter how much I said I disliked it, nothing could suppress this excitement.
I could hear a voice.
A clear voice that echoed well.
That pleasant voice reached my ears.
I could not comprehend the words it uttered, however.
The voice continued.
Elves were also called the “Spirit Tribe”.
Various languages existed in this world. I knew that the elven race commanded an unique language.
Its name was “Vindes”.
A strange light surrounded Feli and formed a sort of shell around her.
I recalled what father once told me:
Feli was strong enough to defeat even the royal knights’ elites.
However…there was something more to it.
No one weak would ever be assigned to a prince’s escort.
Feli even acted as Grerial’s escort, someone who was said to be almost on par with a “Hero” in the past.
The Diestburg kingdom did not hire any “Heroes” in its forces.
Of course, one reason was that they could become triggers of conflict, but, even before that, there was no need to do so.
There was no need to hire a “Hero”.
“…if you think this will go like last time…”
She was on par with the best knights in terms of swordsmanship.
In addition, she could also employ spirits, in a fighting style possible only for elves. Her actual fighting prowess, then—
Suddenly, Feli’s silhouette blurred like a mirage, then accelerated instantly. A speed that could exceed even sound.
In less than a second, she was already close enough to swing her sword against me.
“…you’ll regret it…!”
Very close to Grerial, who was said to be almost on the same level as a “Hero”.
That’s how powerful the elf Feli von Yugstine actually was.
“Still too naive.”
Incredible reaction speed. That was Fay Hanse Diestburg’s greatest weapon.
I swung my sword to block Feli’s strike, producing a high-pitched metal sound that could pierce the ears.
Sparks scattered all around us as the air trembled because of the shockwave caused by the clash of metal.
The feeling transmitted to my hands through the “Spada” said everything. It was enough to let me understand everything.
Understand that Feli was strong.
She had already abandoned much of her restraint.
I felt a switch turn on in my mind.
The habit I adopted as a form of self-suggestion kicked in and my lips twisted in an ecstatic grin.
At the same time…
My “Spada” was wrapped in a thin black film—
Feli, who had already seen the same technique up close, quickly pulled back her sword.
Considering the distance, she could not dodge it. In that case—
As soon as I swung down my “Spada”, crescent-shaped slashes were formed. They mercilessly carved the ground and headed straight for Feli.
Her left hand, however, glowed in a sea-colored mist I had never seen before. It then bent her hand as sinuously as a cat would, swinging hastily.
In an instant, a blade of water was formed.
She probably meant to use it to block the incoming “Spada” slash and have them cancel each other.
However, that was not to be.
A shattering sound of rupture shook our eardrums.
The sound which echoed in the surroundings, as water droplets scattered everywhere, was Feli’s pained voice. A slash wound could be faintly seen as well. Even while wincing in pain, she looked at me, her eyes filled with questions about what happened.
“The power is…!”
Feli had seen me fighting against the “Hero” Idies Farizard. That was surely the reason behind her current confusion, wondering why it was stronger than that time.
It was not because I held back against Idies.
I had swung my “Spada” fully meaning to kill her: there was no room for any leniency in my attack.
There was only one difference between me then and now.
My “Spada” had become more familiar with this body and its fighting sense had become sharper. Nothing else.
Feli was sweating, her expression twisted due to the nasty surprise, and then she showed a wry smile.
The duel had already started, however: no matter what unexpected occurrences happened, a conclusion would be reached.
“It’s my turn now…!!”
The next move was mine.
I disregarded Feli’s train of thought, restlessly trying to decide what to do next, and approached her, holding my “Spada” in one hand.
I closed in on her at terrifying speed.
“Front slash from above.”
I announced the direction of my slash and swung down, without mercy.
It was a supersonic speed slash, without the slightest unnecessary movement.
After I spoke, my blade was already a hair’s breadth away from Feli’s eyes. Before she could breathe, my “Spada” was drawing a shadow-colored arc in the air—
But it only drew a botched attempt and vanished. A blade had come between my “Spada” and Feli’s body.
The shaking sensation transmitted to my hands via my “Spada” told me that my slash had been blocked.
As soon as I realized that, I turned my body and—
As announced, I used the momentum to deliver a kick.
Feli heard my words and formed a cross with her arms to parry, but the struck portion shook in pain.
She was pushed back several steps and was crouching down in pain.
I hurt her a little.
It would be one thing against my mentor or the others, but Feli was different.
She would never give up if I didn’t go this far, though.
“There’s nothing you can do. Give up.”
I knew little about Feli.
Even so, I had probably experienced many more battles than her.
Feli was indeed strong.
That skill, probably called spirit technique, was a fearsome weapon.
But that was all.
She did not possess anything that could make me think I could not beat her.
Feli called me, holding her arm, still looking down.
Her voice was shaking.
“Maybe as you were before I could…but I cannot allow you, as you are now, to be by yourself.”
Up until now, Fay Hanse Diestburg was someone who thought of escaping before anything else.
But, now that he had a sword in his hands, he was different.
His first thought would not be to escape, but to wield the sword.
And he would actively stand on the line of fire.
More than anything else, he looked like someone who sought death.
He sought no glory.
He sought no praise.
When he swung his sword, he convinced himself to be trash and crushed whatever good conscience remained in his heart.
He condemned himself, removing any feeling of achievement from saving others.
No matter what burdened him, he would never open up to others. He would never rely on others.
Despite all this, somewhere, he knew it all well.
Despite all this, he tried to be of help to others.
His train of thought was too ruined to be human.
A way of thinking unfathomable for normal people.
If he was alone, he really would suddenly disappear somewhere.
“I cannot leave you by yourself…!”
She repeated her words, much more powerfully than before. What she was concerned about was one form of the swordsman’s heart, which did not seek the understanding of others.
The heart she couldn’t see seemed like a dark whirlpool, which incited fear and anxiety in her.
Feli understood it, realized it. She could not allow herself to take her eyes off him.
He was a knight that was supposed to simply die.
After fulfilling his request, did Fay ask for anything in return? No.
Leric Zwai Afillis.
He just talked to a solitary boy, who happened to be Fay.
Only because the boy was a royal too: there was no connection between them.
But because of that he continued caring about the boy and they became friends.
Other people probably would not feel any debt of gratitude or duty because of something like that.
Even if they did, it was doubtful they would willingly fight on the frontlines or kill people with such a sad look on their faces.
Again, Fay did not ask for anything in return.
Mephia Zwai Afillis. It was the same for her.
Feli didn’t want him to die.
She didn’t want Fay Hanse Diestburg to die.
The man himself, however, revealed nothing of what burdened him.
And then what happened?
<<How can I die while smiling?>>
He ended up saying words like those.
She really wanted to punch his mouth shut.
It was like he thought he had no right to be happy.
Or maybe happiness for him was something completely different than a normal person imagined.
As they talked, eventually she realized that he disliked being praised.
Why would that be?
He might not reveal that even on his deathbed.
Even so, there was one thing Feli von Yugstine could say.
Fay Hanse Diestburg was someone that had the right to be happy.
If Fay maintained his altruistic thinking, continued to swing his sword for others, and eventually died, she would surely regret it all her life. As someone serving a royal family, there was no greater shame than that.
So she couldn’t leave him like that.
I will never let you go alone.
“I might end up wounding you.”
I focused my strength.
A mystical power invisible to humans : Spirit Arts.
“But if this is the only way to stop you…then I will gladly wound you.”
The ground rumbled.
The epicenter seemed to be a bit far.
The rumbling from the depths of the ground grew louder and louder, announcing its approach.
“I do not know what pains you, what tortures you, Your Highness. I know nothing.”
But, if possible, I want to know, I said while smiling.
And I want to help you, I added.
“But I want to save you. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t me, but one day…”
You are probably planning to do something reckless.
Like you did in Afillis.
After using all those techniques, you must have paid some price.
Even so, you didn’t complain once.
That was a risk.
“So until then, I don’t want you to die, Your Highness. I don’t want you to die while you carry such a sad way of thinking.”
As if responding to her desperate emotions, the sea level rose.
The water was flooding.
“This might be breaking the rules, but it’s still part of my powers.”
Just a little…just a little more. Feli repeated.
“So please, lend me your strength.”
Something enormous appeared from the sea.
A large creature covered in scales.
“Please….! Water Dragon…!!”