Chapter 7 – The Sword Emperor
Bloodline technique “Spada”.
I didn’t have the slightest intention of using it to the fullest this time. Most of my attacks were developed together with my mentor, to kill people quickly and efficiently. Attacks I couldn’t use against Feli.
So I stopped at the most basic step, just materializing the sword. The wielder of this sword, however, was the swordsman called “Sword Demon” during his life and lauded as the “Sword Emperor” right before his death.
I had no intention of looking down on Feli, but I wielded a sword throughout my past life in order to survive. I was a swordsman that went from one field of death to another. My sword arm was honed to survive, to not be killed by anyone. I couldn’t even imagine being defeated.
“Make sure you dodge this.”
I repeated to myself, to signal the start of the battle. I looked at Feli, a wide grin on my lips.
Then, the following instant…
With a loud thud, the ground shook. My grip on the blade strengthened, the blood vessels on my arm became more evident, as I approached and swung. An incredibly swift strike, which Feli managed to parry thanks to my prior warning.
“Your movements are too direct…!!”
She then tried to counterattack.
A simple, diagonal slash. Which Feli described as “too direct”. It was direct indeed, but I told her to “dodge it” before I struck. She should have thought more about what I meant.
A dull sound of clashing metal.
“I-it’s too heavy!!”
The combination of my body weight and the skills I had honed throughout my life were expressed in that single strike. After all, it was a strike from a renowned swordsman. Feli could only withstand it for a few seconds before her sword was knocked away. My body twisted as if flowing and…
“Time to fly.”
A roundhouse kick landed on her stomach. Feli, who had lost her balance, couldn’t defend against it and flew backwards with good momentum, raising a cloud of dust in her wake.
I did not follow up with more attacks. My heart stirred, hungry, loudly shouting at me to continue, to attack more, to wield my sword more.
“This is a nasty side effect…”
I sort of noticed it already. I wielded the sword all my past life, and in my current one, it even corrupted my dreams. Wielding a sword even once in the end, I might not be able to control myself—as I was pondering such thoughts, Feli emerged from the wreckage and the cloud of dust, with a clatter.
She coughed and waved away the sand as she stood up, then started walking towards me.
“To think that you concealed such skill…”
“That’s why I always said it, you know? That I have no intention of wielding a sword.”
“Let sleeping lions lie, as they say… however, I find it hard to accept.”
Feli accepted defeat the moment the sword left her grasp. She apparently had no intention to fight any further.
“With such amazing skills, no one would call you “Trash Prince”! And all those marriage arrangements wouldn’t have been refused! Did you have to hide it to the point of debasing your worth so much!?”
Feli witnessed directly how and why I earned my nickname of “Trash Prince”, but found the nickname distressful. She told me before to “make them eat their words”. Her indignation might be well founded.
But, I never did.
“I told you, didn’t I? I don’t think wielding a sword is a sign of honor.”
“….yes, you did, indeed.”
“I have no intention of wielding a sword, but if my worth is recognized through it…from that moment onwards, my worth would be only recognized through the sword. For me, it’s enough to wield the sword only when it’s really necessary. If I make the sword my purpose in life, then nothing but destruction awaits.”
“Your Highness, what kind of—”
Feli’s words suddenly stopped. It was like she had clamped her mouth shut to keep her next words to escape her throat. Thanks to our relatively long relationship, I could more or less tell what she wanted to say.
I think it was a show of concern.
Even if I was called “Trash Prince” or derided as a weakling who can’t even pick up a sword, I still refused to do it. My esteemed father planned many arranged marriages, only to be refused one after the other, as the “Trash Prince” moniker spread more and more. Even so, I maintained my slothful, hapless lifestyle.
The reason was just as I told Feli: as soon as I picked up the sword, the path to destruction was inevitable. The people from whom I sought recognition of my sword are no more. That is why I saw no value in my sword.
Feli shook her head slightly, then continued with words different than the ones she started with.
“Your Highness. No matter what happens, please, do not die.”
Words so very like her. She had surely understood that she couldn’t stop me. So she worried. She expressed her worry and concern as much as she could.
“If you die, Your Highness, I’m going to follow right after you. To give you a proper scolding.”
Feli’s words were spoken without any hesitation. I decided I wouldn’t let her die. I wanted to protect her. I don’t know if it was love or something else, but I knew I didn’t want her to die.
“I’m not going to die. The only ones who can kill me are myself or my mentor, anyway.”
“Yeah. My mentor was… cool right until the end. Someone I admire.”
“Is that so.”
Feli smiled. She didn’t know who I was talking about, but probably found it would be uncouth to dig in too much about my relationship with my mentor.
“Let’s return to the castle before the sun goes down.”
It was about one hour before sunset. At night, my “Spada” became difficult to use at best.
The dark clouds dotting the sky looked down on us, silently. The decisive battle was approaching fast.