Chapter 12 – Battle on the Empire border Part 2 (3/3)
With Will sorted out for now, this will be my fourth match today against Francesca. Though I would like it if she left it at that for today.
“You’ve got pretty hurt in that last one. Want to leave this for tomorrow instead?”
“I’m fine. Let’s just start.”
After the signal we just kept watching each other. Her strategy this time seemed to include keeping her distance. It’s the same thing Sati tried, but even she didn’t manage to dodge all of them in the end. Does she have something in mind to counter that?
I tried shooting an Air Hammer for now, but she easily avoided it. It didn’t look like she had any intention of moving forward after that though.
She’s aiming for something. However, there is no use continuing this stare-off. I guess I’ll start moving first.
I shot another Air Hammer. She dodged this one as well of course, but I aimed for that with my swing…..which she also evaded and responded with a quick counter. I expected something like that of course, so I blocked it with my shield, but even though I kept chanting, Francesca just fell back some distance and easily avoided my next Air Hammer.
My attack was a bit too simple there.
She kept her distance to dodge the Air Hammers and replied with a quick one hit counter to my attacks before falling back again.
We ended up just watching each other again. I took a step forward to shorten the distance between us, but she took the same step backwards. I guess she wants to keep a medium distance between us.
She stays far enough away to easily dodge the incoming Air Hammers, but not far enough that I would be free to shoot them as much as I want.
I took one more step….when Francesca suddenly charged at me. When I tried to get a bit closer, she took the opportunity to close the distance between us in a flash.
I blocked, I blocked, I dodged, then shot an Air Hammer….which she dodged after falling back. Dangerous. That was dangerous just now.
We watched each other again. The same tactic will not work twice. If I kept shooting Air Hammers, one might hit eventually, but I think her sword might find its target faster in the end. The only saving grace is that Francesca has to be constantly on guard thanks to the Air Hammer’s one hit defeat nature.
“Now what? All out of tricks? Would you like to give up?”
Francesca called out to me, seeing my indecision.
It might not be a bad idea to just give up before I get hurt, but I haven’t shown her my rapid fire type Air Hammer(weak) yet either. That will most likely not work twice either, so I’ll put an end to the match in one go.
“You should only say something like that after you’re sure you’ve won already.”
I shot the usual Air Hammer, then stepped closer to feint with my sword. Then I shot another Air Hammer, which she also easily dodged.
Another Air Hammer while I feinted with my sword again. After dodging that last one, she started charging at me. That was my cue.
I blocked Francesca’s hit, then―― I activated 【Air Hammer (Weak)】.
That should’ve taken her completely by surprise, but she still reacted, blocking it with her shield. However, her stance was thoroughly disrupted.
One more shot. With no ways of evading while her balance was lost, Francesca blocked it with her shield.
One more shot. She was finally unable to brace properly and rolled back on the ground.
I fell back some and waited until Francesca got up. It would be a bit childish to chase after her right now.
“After losing four times in one day, you still want to say that you would win against me?”
At this point she had no way to retort, but she still kept glaring at me like crazy.
If she wants to keep going after this, I still have two or three methods I thought up that might work, but if we keep going, I might get the short straw soon enough.
“Can I go next, perhaps?”
Sati spoke up just then.
“That’s fine, but after Will. Come here.”
“You need to be able to heal yourself and get back on your feet alone. That will open up a lot of tactics and strategies.”
“I-I’ll do my best.”
Resigned to his fate, Will took on the Air Hammer, but he simply lost consciousness from it.
“That’s a bit too much, you know,” Will whined after waking up due to my healing.
Sati wanted to try that as well, which caused her to be blown back amazingly far, but she was able to properly heal herself and get up without any help.
“See? It can be done.”
“Ehh, I don’t know…..”
“How about you, Masaru? Can you handle it?”
Ellie spoke up from the side.
“I-It would be a piece of cake for me, of course….”
Bringing up something unnecessary like that….
“Oh, is that so? Then I will increase the mana used by twenty percent. Stand right there, please.”
“This brings back memories.”
Ellie whispered to me as I was facing her with a ready stance.
When I was first learning Air Hammer from Ellie, she said that I should experience it for myself and shot me in the gut with one.
“You held back that time though…..”
“That is true. I was wondering at that time about what would happen if I shot it seriously. Who would have thought that I would have the chance to find out!”
Don’t say that so cheerfully.
“Hey, control it properly okay!?”
“I know I know. With my current power, even you would die from it, Masaru. Here I go, alright? Threee, twoo, oone, ze-”
Before I could hear the rest of the word ‘zero’, I felt the impact. I was blown back like a ragdoll and by the time I noticed, I was on the ground.
My mind was fuzzy. Ah, healing. I need to heal myself. 【Heal】―― That made my head clear up, so I slowly got up from the ground.
It seems one Heal managed to heal me up mostly all the way, so I don’t think there was too much actual damage done, but…..
“Will, my bad. This is not something you can just brace yourself for.”
There is not much you can do if your head is all messed up like that. I almost lost consciousness.
“Training like this is dangerous, so let’s stop it right here.”
Someone could fall in a bad way and break their neck even.
“Will, aside from Fran’s training, I’ll have you take on the same special training Sergeant-dono did with me.”
Pain tolerance training is necessary.
“Special training?” Ellie asked me.
“Did I not tell you about it? You remember me going to train with Sergeant-dono before we left for the Elf Village, right?”
“Yeah. You came back extremely worn down every day.”
“That was because we used iron swords without armor and――”
They were taken aback when I explained in detail.
Well, using iron swords and no armor would be going a bit too far right now, especially since I don’t really know how to properly hold back, so we settled on leather armor and iron swords, just like in the tournament. If that goes well enough, then we might add Syrah-chan as well.
It will be good training for the Grand Tournament next year as well, so it’s two birds with one stone.