When you swing a sword, what’s important is your lower body.
You swing the sword with your legs — that was what Montavo was taught since he was young.
You rotate your spine by bending your heels, knees, and hips.
When you do, your arm will swing the sword by itself.
The better your back rotates, the stronger and faster your sword swing will be, and the less useless movements it will make.
If you have mastered the ideal form, you will finally be able to swing a sword with no motion.
Montavo was still far from that level. He might never reach it in his entire life.
Thus he covered the parts where he was inadequate with other parts.
His talents, life experience, and his master’s teachings.
With that agglomeration — he surpassed the reincarnator.
Montavo’s sideways sweep collided with Yuutarou’s thrust.
Sparks flew like lightning.
His hand was numb and he was attacked by dizziness.
His body staggered.
But he gripped the ground with the five toes in his boots, he held his ground.
Yuutarou also held his ground.
That’s a reincarnator for you.
He’s worth fighting against.
The next blow.
Both swords clashed.
A loud BOOM shook the air.
The ground cracked and feet carved the ground.
Shockwaves spread with the rivaling swords at the center of it.
Both fighters held their ground.
The next blow, and then the next one.
This couldn’t be called a sword match anymore.
It was the best and stupidest fight, like firing cannons at each others at point-blank range.
Nobody moved back.
Neither Montavo nor Yuutarou were willing to take a step back.
They both knew that if they stepped back once they could not step forward again.
They would cast their shadows on each other and fight for as long as blood flowed within them.
There was no talking there.
One of them was much too immature for talk.
That was why they clashed swords.
Colliding weapons, without a word exchanged.
Clash, clash, clash, clash —
— Watch and learn …
Montavo wished as he swung his sword.
He wanted Yuutarou to learn from him at least a little bit.
If he walked the steady path by himself, he will one day gain power equal to what the goddess blessed him with — Montavo wanted Yuutarou to know that.
When that time comes, Montavo will finally be able to talk with Yuutarou.
But now was not the time.
Clash, clash, clash, clash, clash —
The grounds fell silent as death.
Not a single person uttered a word.
They held their breaths and watched the fairytale-like fight progressed — and then.
“——— ah …”
Yuutarou stepped back just a few milimeters.
Montavo stepped forward just as much.
“—— UOOOOOOHHH …”
Yuutarou moved back a few more milimeters.
Yuutarou’s expression warped, I don’t get it.
Their strength was about the same.
But why was his sword being pushed back, he couldn’t understand the reason why.
— It was simple …
Montavo and Yuutarou were an adult and a child.
Montavo’s body was just a little bit bigger.
An equal match will be decided by physical difference.
The factors that would decide a match were always simple.
A few milimeters, another few, and yet another few.
Yuutarou stepped back.
He was pushed back by the adult’s pressure.
Yuutarou bit his lip.
Why was I pushed back just because he lived longer, he thought.
The likes of an adult.
But just growing up to be an adult is a great thing in itself.
Growth itself can be said to be a heroic act.
— If you don’t like it, then grow …
Montavo glared at the child in front of him.
Burning away your life when you’re still a child is idiotic.
I will end that fake story that will stop your growth right here —!
Montavo’s sword sent Yuutarou’s sword flying.
Yuutarou became unarmed — but the boy still didn’t give up.
Yuutarou created an elemental ball in his hand and recklessly threw it at Montavo.
But Montavo wasn’t perturbed.
He knew the Sacrament Cage will prevent magic from working against him.
It was Montavo’s complete victory.
“ALL RIGHT —! It’s Monta’s win —! I’ll buy meat and booze and gems and go travel —!”
Liu wrapped both her arms around my neck and jumped.
She was already deciding on what she was going to use the winning money for.
Counting her chickens before they’re hatched …
Montavo was holding a sword, while Yuutarou was unarmed.
The outcome was clear.
The audience simultaneously cheered and the arena became rowdy.
Everyone raised as much voice as their lungs could, cheering for both combatants.
While pushing Liu’s face away, I looked towards where Kirisha was.
How does the Lord’s daughter react to Yuutarou’s defeat —
Kirisha paled and was shaken, but she kept her cool.
Montavo’s victory meant her marrying into the Gingaits.
She can’t hope for happiness.
She won’t know how they’ll be using her.
But still, she accepted that life.
I’m sure Kirisha knows.
Such is life.
Happiness is an illness you can only catch while you’re young.
Once you’re past that phase, all that awaits you is deterioration — that was Kirisha’s view on life.
While speaking about hope and expectations on Yuutarou, she had already given up —
— but right that moment.
“Uoooh!? What’s happening!?”
Liu gripped me stronger.
Of course, it was because there was a strong wind.
Even though the skies were clear, the arena was wrapped in a typhoon.
And because of that, something impossible happened.
Yuutarou’s sword that Montavo had sent flying danced in the wind — and rested back in Yuutarou’s hand.
The weapon came back to Yuutarou’s hand.
Which means, Yuutarou can still fight.
The match continues.
“…… hey hey”
It was so tragically convenient.
If this happened in a shonen manga, the readers would go into a riot.
A match that looked like it had ended began again because of a deus ex machina.
The audience didn’t seem like they knew what was going on and was at loss for words.
Even Yuutarou himself watched the sword fall back into his hand in disbelief.
Montavo hurriedly prepared to fight.
The match begins again —
“Goddess Quira, huh …”
… Say what you like, but she was exposing herself too much.
The goddess was desperate for Yuutarou to win.
She couldn’t let him lose.
Because her progeny’s defeat meant her own defeat.
“Hold on HOLD ON! This is way too horrible no matter what you say! You can’t just do whatever you like just because you’re a goddess …!”
“Calm down Liu”
“Like hell I can calm down! If they’re allowing this then anything’s allowed …! If the goddesses can just do anything then there’s no meaning to us struggling …!”
“Calm down … — well, at least we know this now”
I heaved a sigh and calmed my heart.
Yes, this was not outside of my expectations.
Rather, it was completely within my initial plan.
In a normal fight, Yuutarou with the goddess’ protection won’t lose.
That was the absolute law about reincarnators.
An inviolable precondition.
Montavo couldn’t have won.
He could come close to a reincarnator by being a Protagonist, but still, victory would go to the other side in the end.
I understood that.
I understood that, but I still had hope somewhere.
Because Montavo had become such a fine man.
But — it’s useless after all.
No matter how many times Montavo beat Yuutarou down, he will conveniently rise again.
Montavo will exhaust himself and be cornered to defeat.
Before that happens, I need to proceed with the plans.
I once again gazed at Montavo who was fighting fate.
What is he to me?
A disciple? No.
A pawn? Not that, either.
You are my one and only