— His master Phryne, who was supposed to have died, was right in front of him.
Montavo stared over Phryne’s body.
She wasn’t a ghost, she had a real body.
This was no longer a story about an abnormality, the providence of the world had been thrown into disarray.
How should he deal with this — his head was a mess of confusion.
Should he run, should he call for help —
“— stand up bocchan. It’s time for practice”
“Yes …!” he reflexively answered.
If Phryne said “it’s practice”, he was not allowed to refuse no matter what the situation is.
He clutched his sword and stood up right away — the habit from when he was a young boy still remained in him.
He could not grasp what was going on but he knew he had only one thing to do.
To strike against Phryne with his entire body and soul.
Montavo readied his sword and faced his master.
On the other side, Phryne pointed her stick-thin sword at his eyes.
It wasn’t only her sword that’s thin, her arm and her body were also like dried wood.
It seemed she came back in the body she had right before she died from illness.
Her body was a scrap of paper compared to the adult man Montavo.
— and yet, what’s going on with this heavy presence …
Scary. He couldn’t step in.
his master’s touki was silent and overwhelming.
He didn’t think he could win.
If he couldn’t win, then he should run.
Even if his opponent was a master, in a pure physical contest it would be his win.
If Montavo tucked his tail between his legs and retreated with all he had, Phryne wouldn’t be able to catch up to him.
[If you ran away, you’ll be forever in fear]
Kai’s voice — his current master’s voice rang in his ears.
That voice cut off his path of retreat.
He can’t run away until this is over. He won’t run away.
If he ran away now, he will run for his whole life.
He calmed his heart, suppressed his breathing.
“— I’m going in, bocchan”
And thus Montavo was faced with training with his life at stake.
To challenge the mistakes of his past.
“What’s going on … why is Phryne there. What is this … why is a dead woman walking …?”
I was holding my head over at the arena entrance.
At the arena, Montavo and Phryne who should be dead were fighting.
… this is ridiculous.
Ghosts do seem to exist in this world but I never heard of them having flesh bodies.
In fact, ghosts shouldn’t be able to enter a town with a church.
“This went beyond my expectations …”
This couldn’t be.
Honestly, I’ve underestimated this world.
Immediately after reincarnating, I realized the rule of this world.
[I see, this world moves according to tropes of stories], I said.
Everything was easy once I noticed that.
I was after all a former actor and book boy. I know all the rules of stories and playwriting.
Since I knew them, I could break them.
How should I move to disrupt the story, how could I disappoint the goddesses who were the readers, I knew like the palm of my hand.
And with Mirror, everything was perfect.
It was all too easy, I had recently felt that the world moves just according to the scenarios I wrote.
And yet what is this? What in the world jumped my gun …?
What is that Phryne really?
“Motoki? Motoki, hey! Your face is pale. Are you alright? Come on, don’t lose it. You should jump into your legal wife’s loving chest at a time like this. I’ll cuddle and protect you no matter what —”
“You were going to run away on your own just earlier … how could you be so calm?”
“Well, since I felt Motoki’s unusually showing weakness you see. And I thought if I’m nice to you now I could dominate your mind, so I shouldn’t be afraid of some ghost now”
“But it won’t work if you say it you know … like hell I’d be brainwashed by the likes of you”
“Oh? Then I’ll be going home. Ah ah, I wonder if Motoki will be okay. That Motoki who actually have the mental strength of tofu. I know he’s going to need his legal wife’s chest to support his heart … but if he says he doesn’t need me then I’ll —”
“……… please wait”
I tightly clung to Liu.
“There there, good boy. Motoki just needs to stay on my chest for your whole life. Now repeat after me. ‘I really really love Liu-chan, I hate big breasts I hate priestesses I hate loli girls I hate blonde ringlets!’, now, two, three, go!”
She even found out I did it with blonde ringlets.
I thought I hid it well enough, but it looked like she only let it pass.
Women are scary …
… well whatever, I have to get a grip on the situation now.
Let’s leave what that Phryne really is for now — how should I move now?
I stared at the arena.
Montavo and his master were fighting.
His situation — was not good.
“That granny is amazing …”
A cunning expert, a master.
She moved like flowing water, toying with Montavo. What is that monster …
I would barely be able to fight her as Kai.
Then Montavo couldn’t possibly win.
I should … “give him a hand”
I couldn’t afford to lose Montavo now.
Everything after this would go out of order.
But I couldn’t go and help him.
If I jumped in now and win against Phryne two on one, it would have no meaning.
Montavo could never run from his master’s shadow for his entire life.
Then there’s only one thing I could do — one thing I could hope.
If you lose imma beat you up.
Phryne’s sword was exceedingly simple.
Sharp blows from afar into the enemy’s chest.
After the blows, she would draw back into the enemy’s blind spot — repeating the action many times.
It was classic hit and run.
It was textbook, easy to read.
Easy to read — and yet she could not be countered.
Montavo was barely able to keep taking his master’s sword strikes.
It’s not that Phryne’s sword was fast.
Speed-wise, Montavo was faster by a wide margin.
But Phryne attacked without any useless moves at all.
Both in swinging her sword and moving herself, Phryne didn’t change her center of gravity.
There were no superfluous movements.
In a flash, Phryne who should have been far was near.
In a flash, her blade was already near.
Something like that.
— These are the moves of a person who had mastered the forms …!
Montavo admired his master’s sword.
She was ridiculed, who cares about form, but it was the culmination of the techniques of those that came before.
It couldn’t not be useful.
If it’s not useful, it’s only because you lack practice.
Only those who do not fuss over the glory before them, who diligently piled practice upon practice, could reach that state.
Montavo was basically a defensive swordsman.
His winning move starts by locking swords with the enemy.
However, the flowingly moving Phryne would never entertain him to a lock of swords.
In that case —
— I should take the initiative and put her in disarray…!
If he ever had a chance to win, it was there.
A fluke is fine, if he could hit Phryne’s sword just once, being as thin as she is now, she would no longer be able to hold the sword.
That was his one and only light — but Montavo didn’t want to do it.
If he took the initiative and struck.
Then his current, warped sword would be seen by his master.
Nevertheless, he had to do it.
If he didn’t show his ugly self to his master, he would never win against her.
“I’m coming in …”