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Chapter 207 – Settling for a Draw

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Author: Kaburagi Haruka Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 2579 characters
Translator: Mui English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1447 words
Editor(s): Deximus_Maximus

My right fist was broken for good. That made it hard to use my thread in a close battle.

But there was also good news. That was the fact that I could manipulate the muscle fibers inside my body.

Each thread added to my physical power. In other words, my fist managed to gain incredible strengthening.

Was this the “power to become the strongest” that the White God told me about? But for that to be the case, my body was still far too fragile. I was far off from becoming the strongest in my current state. But to overcome this predicament—this was enough.

Having recovered from his shock, Mateus once again charged at me. I dodged his sword with the breadth of a hair’s—nay, a skin’s breadth.

“W-Wha-!?”

I could understand his shock. It probably looked as if he had cut my afterimage. I evaded it narrowly enough to make that illusion.

I was using my thread manipulation not for attacking but defending. If I used it to attack, my body would break before I defeated him. As such, I decided it was better to dedicate myself entirely to dodging and gaining time.

I focused my manipulative power on my limb muscles and proceeded to narrowly dodge his attacks by moving my body like a puppet.

This was all possible because I could view my muscles, tendons, and nerves more accurately than my limbs themselves, as threads. Moving myself like a marionette boosted my precision to an unbelievable extent.

My movements probably looked to be nothing short of the divine from his perspective.

With that as a start, I continued dodging his storm-like barrage with fluid movements. From the side, it probably looked as if he was chopping me into pieces. However, none of those slashes managed to so much as graze me.

After over ten consecutive slashes, all of which I dodged thoroughly, Mateus finally took his distance.

“What… Brought this change?”
“Who knows. I have no obligation to tell you.”

I swung my thread along with that frank answer. However, he easily evaded it. He was really not someone who’d fall for such feints, as expected. Even if he was overcome with surprise, he was apparently still collected enough to respond to frontal attacks.

So far, the defending had gone as planned. But I couldn’t get too optimistic here.

Cloud was still bleeding, and my right arm was broken. I wasn’t sure how much longer I could continue dodging. Manipulating the insides of my body meant that I was gradually shaving away my stamina reserves.

The other side, however, only had one guy that sustained a knee injury. While Mateus himself was still without a single injury.

At that moment, the two other men decided to rush at me. They didn’t approach until now as they would get in Mateus’ way.

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But since he took distance from me, they decided this was their chance. However, I used those two as shields and moved even farther from Mateus.

I instantly rushed next to Cloud, and then manipulated my piano wire to wrap it around his arm and stop the bleeding.

As I wasn’t making it move to cut, the wire simply constricted his shoulder tip and blocked the hemorrhage.

Following that, I swung my heel towards the man that chased after me and smashed his knee. His leg wasn’t frail enough that it would have broken with a kick from someone as light as me, were it the usual.

However, due to manipulating my muscle fibers, this kick was far heavier than it normally was, making up for my lack of weight with speed.

With a repulsive breaking sound, his knee caved in, and he collapsed between us and Mateus.

“AGGGGHHHH!!”

He started rolling about in pain and became an obstacle for both sides. Seeing that Mateus started pondering about something for a moment.

During that time, the other man also charged at me from the opposite side with his sword raised, but I easily flung that sword from his hands by elbowing the hand holding it, effectively disarming him.

“GAAAAAAGHHH!?”

The elbow strike broke his fingers, making him scream while holding his hand. A first-class fighter would never have shown such a defenseless posture. As expected, Mateus was the one I had to be cautious of.

Taking the opportunity, I kicked his elbow and broke it like the other man, leaving him rolling on the ground.

With that, Mateus had two obstacles to dodge before getting to me. Dodging them would, in turn, become openings for me to make use of. And I would never miss such an opportunity.

Contrary to what I expected, rather than approach me, Mateus lowered his arms and said in a listless, carefree voice.

“Ah, good grief… I quit, I quit.”
“What?”
“You turned out to be far more skilled than I expected, little lady. And you neutralized three of my coworkers. I think this would be a good time to quit, wouldn’t you agree?”
“What the hell, Mateus! You intend to leave the eyewitnesses!?”

The last remaining man yelled at Mateus who dropped his arms, losing his intention to fight. Judging from the appearance, that fat man was probably the leader of these slave traders. And he was no fighter however you looked.

“But, you see, it would take a while to defeat her.”
“Who cares if it will!”
“We don’t have that much time to waste, do we? We’ve already been reported, and the guards are probably on their way, right?”
“…S̲h̲i̲t̲!”

The man spat out those final words, freed one horse that was tied to the carriage, and started making his escape with it.

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He judged that he would not be able to escape with the carriage on him. It was difficult to pass through the forest with a large carriage.

I would’ve preferred to follow and put an end to him, but I had no weapons on me right now.

But leaving his comrades and escaping like that was quite a resolute decision. Since he didn’t mind his identity getting exposed, perhaps he was never intending to enter any of Raum’s towns.

“Could you tell me your name, young lady? I already know the other one’s name, since you were calling to her earlier.”

He asked while lightly shrugging his shoulders. This was probably his way of closing the fight. I managed to succeed in saving Cloud, so I had no reason to continue the fight at this point. No, well, I had one… But it was not worth the risk.

“…Nicole.”
“Nicole… Huh? Okay, I remembered it. Well then, let’s make you the next target, Nicole.”
“Next target…?”

After he said that much, I finally caught on to something. He was a first-class swordsman… No, even higher than that, who had the Stealth Gift. His presence here could not be a mere coincidence.

I remembered an incident that a man of his caliber caused fairly recently.

“So you… You are the one who assassinated Count Tarkashire?”

It was an assassination incident that was caused by someone who most probably held a similar Stealth Gift to mine. Someone with that ability was in front of me now, so there was no way he was uninvolved.

As expected, Mateus spread his arms wide in exaggeration and affirmed my question.

“Exaaaaaactly! Good job realizing that. As expected of my rival, huh? How about you become my wife when you grow up?”
“Never in a million years.”
“Again with that, huh?”

This time, he responded with a dejected drop of his shoulders. He was extremely expressive of his emotions… Or more like, he seemed to be pretending as if that was the case.

“Under whose orders did you kill Tarkashire?”
“I can’t go answering that now, can I?”
“…Right.”

If he was an assassin like me, he wouldn’t go revealing his employer’s name. If possible, I wanted to restrain him to keep him from escaping… But the other party was fully aware of that.

“Well then, looks like your friends would be arriving soon, so it’s about time I made my escape.”

He suddenly leaped back and straddled on the other horse. Since the previous guy didn’t take the carriage with him, there was one more horse remaining there.

“I am Mateus of the Jend sect of the hidden blade style. I hope you remember me until we meet again.”

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With those words, he made his escape.

I had no time to chase after him. I couldn’t leave Cloud be, after all.

Following that, I heard the neighs of horses and sounds of metal. It seemed that the guards had finally arrived.



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