|Author: Kaburagi Haruka||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2579 characters|
|Translator: Mui||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1292 words|
I returned back to Matisse who I left in front of the blazing house, then placed the Queen Blossom’s seeds on her lap. Given this fire, it was about time for people to notice and make noise. I had to hide before that happened.
“Oh, have you woken up?”
While my magic wasn’t much, it apparently still healed her enough to bring back her consciousness. I was covered with soot and the scarf covered my hair, so she shouldn’t have been able to guess it was me at a glance.
I was trying to keep my voice as low tone as possible, so it probably sounded neutral to her… probably.
“Who… Are you?”
“I came to rescue you. Others will come soon too. You will be able to go home.”
“Yeah. In exchange, I’d like you to pass this to Cortina. It’s something important.”
“To… Lady Cortina…”
“Yes. I leave it to you.”
I put a bag full of Queen Blossom’s seeds in her hand and was about to leave. She had no strength to walk, but with a fire going it was only a matter of time until the guards rushed here. You could say her safety was guaranteed.
When I turned around, I spotted a glowing silhouette in the corner of my view. I immediately let my threads fly and covered Matisse from that light.
“Who are you!”
“I didn’t think you could dodge that.”
A single man appeared from behind a tree almost as if oozing out of darkness itself. He was a tall and slender man, loosely holding short swords in each hand. He looked much like me, covered in black from head to toe.
“I’ll ask again… No, nevermind.”
“Is that so?”
Indeed, thinking back on it, I felt a gaze at Horton Corp. In other words, there was someone monitoring that place. And whoever managed to slip through the Treants’ surveillance network probably held the Stealth Gift. Which meant, those two were one and the same.
However, there was no one with such skill inside the house. If they had someone who could conceal himself, he would obviously be stationed near the Horton Corp. He wouldn’t have returned back when negotiations were going to happen the next day.
Even when it came to Gale, he should have chosen to erase his presence and flee the moment he noticed an unknown presence inside the house. But the fact that he didn’t do that meant that he had no such ability.
All that suggested that there was one more enemy out there. That someone was monitoring Horton Corp but rushed back when he saw these flames. Then he showed his face to erase me and Matisse who was a witness.
“It was you, right? The one who stole the Queen Blossom’s seeds.”
“Oh, so you already know that much? It’s as you say.”
The man slowly set up his swords. Both of us were afraid of drawing attention, which meant there was no time for casual dialogue.
“You appear to be a child still, but did you do that alone? If so, that’s amazing. How about it, would you join hands with me?”
“I decidedly refuse!”
I let my thread fly towards the man. It was a big vertical swing, no different from a slash in strength. It was hard to sense such an attack in this dead of night. However, the man easily avoided it.
He made a big leap and widened the distance between us. I didn’t expect that attack to land either, however. The goal was to get him as far as possible from Matisse.
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Nevertheless, since he managed to avoid my steel threads at night, he was probably quite used to the night warfare. There were flames in the background, but that shouldn’t have made it so easy to doge.
“A thread user, huh? That’s quite the nasty skill you have!”
The man yelled and once again swayed his body. And the next moment, he appeared before my eyes.
He appeared so suddenly it was as if the reality lagged for a second. Seeing his unique attack range I immediately leaped back to widen the distance that he closed.
I sent two of my threads to the roadside trees behind, pulled on them with all my strength, and managed to get away. Immediately following it, his short swords mowed down the place I was a moment ago.
As I fixed my posture and set up my katana, the man disappeared once again. It was probably due to the Stealth Gift. That ability excelled in hiding, but it wasn’t supposed to be so outstanding that it’d allow you to disappear from the direct line of sight. Yet the reality was that he appeared right before my eyes in an instant.
First came a small sigh, followed by a flash of a blade. I received, dodged, and redirected all those attacks with my katana.
“You’re quite used to battle, little brat!”
“You as well, that’s quite a strange way to use your Gift.”
I possessed the Stealth Gift as well, but I never used it the way he did. It was purely for surprise attacks and scouting. And yet, this man turned it into a battle skill.
He couldn’t disappear from someone’s eyes, but he could distract their perception for an instant. But that instant was enough to greatly influence the combat.
He used that instant to close the distance, then back off again. When it came to combat, the distance was something vital, and he used a non-combat Stealth Gift to have solid control over it.
As the user of the same Gift, I couldn’t help but admire his skill.
Since I had the Thread Manipulation skill that was easier to use in battle, I chose to dedicate my time to mastering it. Once I’ve settled on the battle style centered on surprise attacks, the chances for direct combat decreased drastically.
But this man managed to train his Stealth Gift for combat and created a new battle style. If I were to be honest, I never even considered something like that. This was something you could only comprehend if you used it while facing an enemy head-on. But considering what would happen if you failed, this was hardly something one would be willing to use mid-battle.
“You have such good skills… It’s a shame.”
“Well, it’s only good for one-on-one fights.”
In this world, you could only gain fame if you stepped on the battlefield or hunted monsters. But with this battle style, you would be no use on the battlefield where you needed to take on multiple people at once, and it was disadvantageous against monsters that used the brute force approach.
His style was only good for one-on-one fights. It was a skill you could only use in duels between humans, so to speak. That was perhaps why their leader was Gale and not him.
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“Sorry brat, I don’t have much time. Just die already!”
“I’ve not the slightest intention of dying so young.”
We exchanged words and once again clashed blades. It wasn’t long until the surroundings would get noisy. If we continued for a few more minutes, someone would catch sight of us.
In the middle of our exchange, I shifted my position a little and dashed towards the darkness the moment the chance appeared. The man ignored Matisse and chased after me.
He has been monitoring Horton Corp all this time so there was little chance that Matisse saw him. It was natural that he put me first on the priority list.
Thus, I was able to secure Matisse’s safety and at the same time change our battle location.