「Un, this is good weather」
Sonya, who had her Bird Mask on, extended her arms to the sky and said with a good feeling.
Slightly breathing with a blush on my face, I also looked up at the sky.
There was not one cloud in the sky, thus the sun was not blocked by anything, causing the sky to shine down on the stage.
‘Was this because the strong rain had stopped’, is what I wondered as its form became even more shining.
Anyway, that’s how it seemed.
Since the rain stopped, there was only one thing to do.
While Bird Mask was staring at a position some distance away, I slowly closed my eyes.
Inhaling a small breath, I felt a slight chill in the air as I took the small breath.
I slowly opened my closed eyes, suddenly looking to my back.
A small village was reflected under my eyes, looking smaller due to the height of the place, producing a certain aesthetic.
When seeing it up close, it was something to be impressed by──now that Natousha became part of the scenery background, it was also beautiful.
It’s something that one wouldn’t grow tired of even if they were to look at it forever. That type of illusion was created from the superb view that I was looking at, but I separated my eyes from it and fixed my eyes on Sonya again.
We went to the mountain adjacent to Natousha.
As for the altitude, it was moderately high. Maybe just a bit higher than Arubaku Mountains. We are currently here in an area halfway up the mountain.
In order for us to wholeheartedly exchange moves to our heart’s content, the village was not a choice due to the amount of eyes watching.
Was there a place where we could fight without being interrupted or seen──what Sonya showed me towards my request was this place.
Certainly, with this location, there was a lack of people watching, no hindrances.
However, it seems like I’m usually on a mountain to fight another person. Recalling Chester and my first bout in this life, a small smile floated on my face.
「But, is this place truly all right?
Though it isn’t currently excessively minded, it’s just that one can’t move the way one wants at a high altitude」
Probably because of sort of smile I gave off, due to how I didn’t know how to feel, Sonya anxiously called out to me.
At a height from which could be seen from the base of Natousha, as I said a while ago, it was at a position that was a bit chilly.
The cold of the mountain, from what I have heard, is due to the air being thinner. What Sonya felt anxious about was probably as such.
「It isn’t a problem. During the short time I attended the Academy, I practiced daily on a mountain. Exercise at a high altitude is not a problem because I’m used to it.」
Okay, maybe ten years isn’t a short period of time, but I trained myself in the mountains to avoid observation.
As for the height, I can’t say precisely, but it should still be a relatively high position.
Due to the fact that I am used to it, the unexpected worry was needless. When I told so, the aura around Sonya changed.
「….I see. Then I feel relieved.」
Even without looking at her face, it was obvious due to her energetic voice.
Not wanting to discourage someone due to a difference in environment, I am the same.
Listening to Sonya, it seems like her training was also in the mountains.
It seems like our conditions are similar.
So, since it is──to attain either victory or defeat, it all comes down to degree of practice.
「Now that all the worries are gone, let’s get started──」
「──Un, I’m also aching for a fight.」
It was like hanging bait in front of one’s eyes, it should’ve been the same for the other side.
The hunger of yearning and expectation・・to the limit.
Mutually, we took our stances.
I took a「Flowing Water」stance, Sonya took a stance that made one feel moderate weakness, it was a posture without an opening.
From the elbow which was bent around the chest, and the way the wrist hung relaxing in the posture was impressive. There was expected to be connections to various actions, the degree of completion of the stance was high. However──this stance, was perhaps not the firmest in「Martial Arts」. Perhaps it was self-taught, or something close to that.
──Oh, this is why it’s unbearable to have an unknown powerful opponent.
Strike, throw, and──magic.
What was going to be drawn out of that stance, it was all part of the fun.
「Martial Arts, huh」
「Sonya, your stance is pretty unusual.
──Cheryl, please give us the signal.」
Towards Cheryl who I brought along to allow her to observe the fight, I asked for a signal.
Then, Cheryl picked up a small stone from the roadside.
「When it hits the ground, start.」
Crossing. Delicate arms were brought closer to the ground.
It would begin once the stone hit the ground, this method was a very good way to ensure fairness. If it was this, then the mechanics of the beginning was clearly understood.
The stone wrapped around thin fingers was released gently by Cheryl’s hands.
Watching the place where the stone was whirling in the sky, it was easy for a tremendous load to be put on the imagination.
Seeing that the height was of a range within common sense, it seems like Cheryl had learned to hold back.
After diverting my attention from the growth of the girl who is both my friend as well as the dear person left to my care by my friend from my past life, I changed my mindset to that of a Martial Artist.
While feeling the stone fall slowly, the Bird Masked Sonya’s aura seemed to be wrapped in joy.
Though facial expressions couldn’t be seen through the Bird Mask, perhaps under that surface, it would be what I expected.
Similarly, there was also a grin plastered on my face.
──Fall quickly, come on.
Praying silently, even though there was no way that the stone’s speed would quicken.
But such a thought passed by, probably due to me being at the limits of my patience.
What is Sonya thinking about?──right after that thought crossed my mind.
The stone fell to the ground, making a dry sound, and the fight started.
What started the beginning of the fight that I had been impatiently waiting for, was Sonya’s magic.
Her hand was enshrouded in the magical power of the wind and was wielded like that of a carnivorous animal upon its prey, the blade of wind came towards me.
To be precise, it could not be called magic.
Magic is a phenomenon invoked by reciting power words and infusing magic power into them.
Although it referred to a chant when I say reciting words, Sonya had not chanted. Thus, this was not magic. Changing the color of the magical power into that of winds’, it was an attacking technique creating claws. Generally, this technique was called「Sorcery」.
Although sorcery had an inferior effect compared to magic, it’s advantage was that it had a simple construction and could allow one to make the first move. Conversely, the bad point was that the output was inferior to that of magic──
The wind blade approached from under my nose. Compared to the magical power of an unskilled magician, this was much higher.1
To be honest, this was among one of the beginnings that I had predicted, it was a possibility I had thought to be very high.
However, this power was something beyond my expectations.
I thought I could disregard it if it was some magic, but it seems like I’m either forced to receive it or avoid it.
It’s not like it will cripple my battle potential were it to connect, but nevertheless, I can’t disregard it.
Fumu, this is worse than expected.
「Flowing Water」is a stance specializing in receiving. Therefore, it is something that doesn’t collapse easily from an attack.
Since it’s a stance for receiving, no matter how much magic or sorcery like this she uses, I can deal with it. I think its defensive power is worthy of being called impregnable.
However, in the end it’s no more than receiving.
Against long distance attacks──honestly, there is no decisive counterattack method.
In Master’s country, when fellow martial artists fight, they mostly don’t consider long disctance attacks. When there are, however, it’s mainly throwing techniques, like casting rocks or throwing weapons.
Therefore, in Shijima Style──beyond expectations, there were only a few means that were countermeasures to long distance.
This area, I felt was a big challenge for myself.
The arts of Shijima that I succeeded from Master. And since I aim to be the strongest, attacks from a distance are an obstacle I cannot disregard.
While handling the blade of wind which was rushing at me, I was pondering.
‘If I learned sorcery’, I once thought──but that’s the same as using weapons.
The will of the fist that I succeeded from Master. In the end, I don’t want to use magic power beyond strengthening my body.
Thus, that’s how it is.
However, it won’t be that way forever.
In the storm of wind blades, I found a small gap. I stopped while creating a blade of magical power around my hand.
Making use of that gap to escape from the line of fire──I closed the hand that was always open.
「That stance, changed──？」
While launching that blade of wind, Sonya lightly leaked out a questioning voice.
From that slight movement, it seems like she perceived it instantly. Things appear to be more than they seem, looking and observing tie information together.2
Starting with a closed fist, bending more deeply at the knees and elbows. This image, was ironed into the bones. 3
Continuing through the core even though there was weakness, rather than a throw, I changed it into a stance aware of the incoming attack.4
From a stance that was based off of flowing water──to that of rough seas surging, to a hitting stance.
Opposite of Flowing Water’s arm throw, it changed to Surging Wave’s hit. Shijima style 「Surging Waves」stance, take this!