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[Vol.2] Chapter 24 – Calm

Although I never regretted not having any long ranged attacks but this time I was made aware of the usefulness of them.
Techniques which didn’t belong to fist techniques– I avoided them, but in situations such as this, I’d like to also have techniques such as that.

While Sonia is warped in this soft breeze, I will reveal all my cards.
Sonia probably won’t make the first move with this.
If I were in her position, I definitely wouldn’t. If the technique is broken before it could hit then one wouldn’t see the need to counter.
If I was able to use long-ranged attacks I would be able to restrain her from outside but……asking for things I don’t have is useless, huh?
I have to somehow find a way to break that wind fortress.

“Fufu……What’s the matter? Not coming?”

Sonia’s lips curved into a beautiful smile as if she was able to read my thoughts.
Good grief, what a sadistic girl. Still, I couldn’t feel any malice from her — Is that what one would call innocence, is what I thought.

Cold sweat was gathering on my forehead. As I was in midst of this wind this coldness is probably real and not just a feeling.
If that’s the case I’d honestly want to move out of this wind but if I did that this would certainly give Sonia an opportunity.
That girl’s reaction speed is unusually sharp. If a troublesome person uses this bothersome technique I can’t lay a hand on them.

“Yes, as expected of Slava-kun. It’s good to be cautious.”

Immediate withdrawal is a bad plan. I didn’t move an inch so as to not give out any information, then Sonia calmly started to walk — as if this was an everyday occurrence.

Oh ****, I thought.
This distance of approximately two metors is certainly unpleasant for me who is primarily in the proximity.
Normally if Sonia approached me like this I’d be rather grateful.

But in this situation it was different.
This magic mystifies every attack which should have been straight forward.
To Sonia who was excellent in quick firing skills this space was like her backyard, it was easy for her to advance.
I couldn’t do anything but watch Sonia slowly approaching.

Eventually the distance of 2 metors shrunk to just one metor — if she extended her arm she would have been able to touch me

“Hey there, long time no see”

Then we were so close to each other that we could hear the softest whisper.
……How utterly sadistic.
The me who is a martial artist is screaming inside me to hit in my opponents face, even now. But if I obeyed that voice nothing but plain ruin would have been waiting for me.

“Oh my, you’re still not coming? — If that’s the case I’ll come at you without reservation”

However– Sonia who had an overwhelming advantage couldn’t turn away from this place either.
Sonia slowly raised her palm which seemed like nothing at first glance then she hit my cheek with it and shook it.


For arguments sake, it doesn’t really matter if I receive this blow at that point as it was aimed to cause pain rather than damage.
Still, that open-handed slap had so much power behind it that one couldn’t ignore it and try to receive it without guarding.

Thus, I defensively raised my hand and received the slap.
Is that what one would call the reflex of a martial artist who imprinted this into his very being after 100 years? Even though I know in my head that this was a bad move — I still chose to defend.
Usually this wouldn’t be such a bad move because in the Shijima style, which excels in countering, it would both serve as defence and attack at the same time, the best move one could make.
But this all changes when dealing with that girl.
At that moment I certainly heard for an instant.

“– I waited, you know?”

The whisper of an innocent spider waiting for its prey.
The hand which deployed this slap which should have contained great power was now fluttering –her other hand was also being idle overflowing with wind magic.
She seemed like beauty who got stood up. She cancelled her slap as if having lost interest, instead she hammered a palm strike warped in wind magic into my abdomen.

“Guh, fu……!”

Wind power pierced into me from her palm strike to my abdomen.
The shock of that tornado exploding inside of me disturbed my internal organs.
That explosive magic power turns into a storm and throws me, who is as light as a child, up.

I somehow was able to rebuild my posture in mid-air while feeling nauseous from the shock which felt like I was directly hit by a blunt object different from the time before which felt like being swept away by the wind.
──However, Sonia already ran to the place where I estimated I would land.
Damnit, just when I thought she’s done with sending me off she’s already on her way to welcome me again, what devotion……!

This time it’s Sonia who is chasing me with clenched fists.
Her hidden magical power is high. It’s enough to strip one of one’s consciousness in one blow if it’s a clean hit.
As expected, while feeling the bitterness of being handicapped there’s no other way but prepare to receive one of the most powerful attacks which was ever approaching — But, as I thought, this blow mustn’t hit me.
For an instant I watched that stopped fist with round eyes, being cautious of the next attack.
Then I caught her right leg moving out of the edge of my sight.
I can’t afford to also defend against that. Although a large swing is certainly powerful but it also gives one the best chance to use countering techniques on it–
Therefore it is nothing to be shaken by, I reflexively assume a defensive posture before I again felt a wind palm heel strike piercing through my abdomen.

“Bu, gafu!”

My body is attacked by strong nausea and this floating feeling again.
This one seemed weaker than the one before because she probably focused more on speed. While being exposed to the air pressure I felt even stronger nausea than before because I was hit on the same place again.

“Haa, haa……That’s some extremely evil magic”
“I’ll take that as a compliment”

Because of this continued display of unreasonableness I unintentionally cursed.
──Oh yeah, in battle, cursing is unmistakably seen as a compliment.
Sonia who wore a pleasant smile started to laugh.
Now that I experienced it on my body I can say, what dubious magic. Even though I say so myself, I had confidence in being able to read her attack, but I can’t understand it at all.

……Speaking of which, Sonia was doing something that feels like rock, paper, scissors since some time.
What’s more, it’s like when one doesn’t immediately show one’s hand after having said “Rock, paper, scissors” and calmly waits for the other party to show their hand first, extremely vicious.
To just wait and see and aim this simple yet powerful blow she had to predict if the other party was going to defend and resist it or dodge it, to do that — she must have somehow read the movements of my muscles and magical power of which I didn’t have any conscious control over and found a place to hit me. To Sonia, using her “Aroma Vibration”, my insides are like the back of her hand. She carefully looks at one’s movements, feels them as confirmation and responds to these pieces of information correctly later on.
It sounds easy if one puts it that way but it takes reaction speed far exceeding common sense and the imagination and hard training to grasp the situation by just feeling the wind.
But even considering that, this is foul play. Erasing the factor of being able to read the attacks from battle — Certainly, a successful feint, is, as one might expect, a feint that confuses the other party.

But because of that–

“……Amazing. To be able to laugh in a situation like this, truly”

I can’t help but laugh.
Well, it’s like, this world is rather vast, isn’t it? To unexpectedly meet such a powerful person right from the start. What a shame that I died before meeting her.
I can’t help but be happy that I got to meet her with this light body.
This can’t be anything but fun, more than anything.

“What, aren’t you the same? I see a smile forming under that mask”
“Fufun, I’m also a martial artist, after all. It’s my first time meeting someone as tough and fast as you. That tingling feeling that if I relax just for a moment I’ll be overtaken, it’s unbearable.”

It seems like Sonia is the same as me — We faced each other with a smile and let out a hearty laugh.
The one with the title of the strongest is a sinful guy for he attracts beautiful women just like Sonia.
But even such a pretty girl has such an unyielding attitude, martial artists are a lost cause after all.

“We think alike, don’t we? Absolutely not wanting to give up this match. Now, the talk’s over. Show me — What will Salva-kun do about this wind armour?”

Sonia’s body starts to shine faintly and a soft breeze wraps around my body.
Did the range of “Aroma vibration” get larger? Looks like she wants to decide the match with this.
……I absolutely don’t want to lose though. This thought isn’t uncommon in fighters.
Therefore it’s commonplace for such obstinate people to confront each other like this.

But only one can be the victor.
Certainly, I can’t deal with this magic through ordinary means. But I’m not that obedient to just give up because I’m told to.

–This magic called “Aroma Vibration” is excellent, except its use is limited to Sonia.
Grasping the things within range, breaking down the information with her exceptional reaction speed, calculating the weak point in the other party’s defence and attack.
Reading the other party’s attack isn’t necessary for Sonia to choose the most suitable attack.
If that’s the case then attacking from here would be nothing but a bad move. Compared to the defenceless exposure when choosing to counter the attack, if I launch an attack from here it just would give Sonia a chance to counter. Then, if I use feints — they would get seen through by Sonia as soon as I’m in range. It’s like I handed her all my cards, that’s how it seems.

Well then, I’m beaten.
What’s with this, isn’t this unbeatable?
Sealing of the reading of attacks from battle is just like a fairy tale and she dared to turn it into reality with this.

……Then there’s no way to attack, that can’t be.
I myself think this is stupid but I’m not entirely sure about this battle anymore — For the time being, I’ve got two plans I could use to break out of this situation.

However, I’m not exactly willing to carry out one of those.
If you’d ask me for a reason, it’s pretty hard to explain.
But if I had to answer it would be — I just don’t like this technique. That’s it.

To be honest, the plan I thought of is crafty as well as dirty.
What’s more, before Sonia who covered her face with a mask and takes pride in her abilities as a “Sky gazer” this technique is especially dirty.
To put it simply, one of the techniques is something like a “smoke screen”.
I’d let my magical power blow up instantly, creating a storm which would swallow Aroma Vibration’s winds resulting in cheating her magic perception with this enormous magic power. It’s a trick — that would enable me to bring her down in no time.
This technique, without using a spell, takes enormous amounts of magical power out of any common sense. But I’d be able to do it. With that, I’m confident I would be able to defeat Sonia in a single blow.
–Tricks are certainly part of this plan. Thus, faced with this, Sonia won’t be able to retaliate.
However, as I said before, I have no intentions of using it.

Achieving victory against such a great beauty through tricks? How meaningless.
Therefore, the last plan is–

“The Surging Wave stance? You’re plotting something, isn’t that right?”

Being fair and square. Simply that.
My other acceptable option is — preparing for an honourable defeat.
On one hand, this “plan” doesn’t seem like me but on the other hand, I was able to choose it because it’s me.

To Sonia’s excited voice, I twist my mouth into a smile.
I wanted to do it outside of Aroma Vibration’s range but it can’t be helped.

Seeing my smile Sonia chuckled a little, she heightened her concentration to clearly grasp the situation.
Judging by her stance she realised I would launch an attack.
And this exchange — will probably be the last as well.

I heightened my concentration and raised my magical power.
This other method I chose. Normally, this would be a bad plan, without a doubt.
In other words──

“……! What tremendous magical power……It’s the first time I’ve seen so much”

A sure-kill hit outside of her perception. The so-called — Bulldozer.
Like a dam which manipulates the flow of a stream, This Surging Waves technique with the power to swallow up everything is able to alter the terrain.
The me who always absorbed and manipulated my opponent’s power, longing for that power, devised this technique if you can even call it a technique.

──Anyone using the Shijima style is obliged to learn healing magic.
Only for that reason I’m also able to use healing magic.
If you enhance your body with magical power your strength will rise. However, like a paper balloon filling up, the body can’t endure infinite amounts of magical power and will start to collapse if it’s too much.
This technique pushes that limit and to prevent the body’s physical collapse through healing magic. It’s that simple of a technique.

“–Idiot, have you gone mad?……No, you can’t be sane. I thought otherwise, but it turns out you’re just a great fool”

That’s right, this technique is only something a fool would use.
The state of pushing one’s body beyond its limit and healing it again and again feels just like torture of continuously getting cut down.
Though I’m laughing like this right now but there’s actually sweat flowing down the side of my face.
My muscles are struck by a similar cutting pain. This process repeats again and again.
Well, though it’s been a long time since I last used it but it’s more painful than I expected it to be. If I don’t hurry up this might be bad.

“What’s, the matter, now? Us martial artists, are all great fools”

I clench my fist near my waist and show my will to attack.
Sonia didn’t say anything anymore. She just strengthened her senses awaiting this blow.

Silence fell over us.
For just an instant it seemed like the whole world grew silent, there was just a soft breeze — and a fire lit inside my body.


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