|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3917 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1855 words|
There was no wind, the waving light that passed through the lake’s surface that appeared like the shadows of a myriad of marbles illuminating their surroundings. The Fifty Bells Union was located below a lake, looking all around like an aquarium. In the very center of that place, in the courtyard of the inner palace where the higher ups would get together, a silver haired girl and a Meou holding daggers on both hands faced each other.
(The Wiseman Danbulf stood atop all summoners, which means she probably also mostly fights with summons. But I remember hearing stories that he also could fight in close quarters as a sage, so it wouldn’t be strange to imagine he taught her pupil how to do that as well. But either way, if I keep a large distance between us then I’ll easily be taken down by her summons… and I’m not suited for long range combat anyway.)
Since she could not read anything off Mira’s appearance, Sasori delved deep into the well of her memories, trying to fish out everything she knew about Danbulf as she formulated her strategy.
「Preparations on both sides appear to be done. Then, commence~」
Uzume’s voice sounded disinterested as she gave the signal, but Sasori did not waver and leapt forward immediately. She would be at a disadvantage if she was too far away, so it was best for her to close in from the beginning so she would be engaged in close quarters combat, which she excelled at. That was her strategy, and she possessed the agility to make that possible, as her body flew towards Mira like an arrow fired from a bow.
Sasori was close enough to attack barely an instant later, swinging her dagger with the speed of lightning. If her attack reached Mira’s neck, the match would be settled.
The dagger closed in on its target, but the moment it would touch it, Mira’s figure became dim and vanished like a mirage.
Sasori stood dazed raising a confused grunt, but shortly after she turned around and accelerated again. She realized Mira used Mirage Step and had sensed Mira’s new location.
(I should expect that much from a proficient pupil.)
Mira on the other hand, realized Sasori was considerably strong since she had to use Mirage Step already. At the same time, she was reminded that Sasori was someone handpicked by Kagura. Seeing her react so quickly and follow her presence made it clear she had undergone arduous training and had plenty of real world experience, as opposed to that spoiled noble Kairos who simply chased after the illusions.
When Sasori was close enough for her dagger to reach, she drew a straight line with it in an instant, a thrust to cross that short distance as quickly as possible. But her blade was unable to reach Mira once again, a large shield that appeared out of nowhere blocking the dagger’s path, Sasori’s body colliding against it shortly after as well.
「What’s- where did that come from?!」
Sasori carefully looked at the shield that appeared so suddenly while trying to keep her surprised mind calm, but then the shield vanished. Next Mira who was supposed to be behind the shield also vanished. Keeping her thoughts in check, Sasori searched for her presence. But at the same time, she felt a weird chill like that of a bug walking down her neck, so she leapt backwards as the ground she just left was torn open as if hit by a sledgehammer, accompanied by a thunderous sound that shook her body and innards.
(That was a sage’s…Shockwave!)
Sasori was able to identify the spell used, and from the traces it left she could tell where it was cast from. Careful about any following attacks, her head turned upwards. Mira was up there, having used the partially summoned shield as a smokescreen while she flew above Sasori’s head using Sky Stride.
Mira noticed her attack had caused a reaction, but was also astonished at Sasori’s reaction speed. The spell had been cast from her blindspot, but she was still able to dodge it an instant before it hit. This was a strategy she had come up with during her wagon trip, and seeing promising results, she made a mental note about it.
「I can still reach!」
While Mira mused about those things, Sasori reinvigorated herself as she thrust her dagger upwards. At the end of it, a small tornado was formed that took the shape of a snake with jaws wide open and protruding fangs, which rushed towards the girl standing in mid-air. When it was close enough, Mira took hold of it and crushed it with her hands clad in wind from Sage Arts, looking down at Sasori while smiling.
(She’s better than I thought. This will be a good opportunity to proclaim a summoner’s power.)
Parrying the following two tornados, Mira smiled happily at her opponent. The snakes, losing their target, dispersed into the air, the compressed air they were made of causing a whirlwind that enveloped the garden making the plants and Mira’s skirt flutter. Thanks to that, the sacred grounds that were barely concealed under a shadow became exposed, to which Cophin replied with cheering. But his cheer was quickly drowned by Hebi. Mizar and Alioth decided to avoid meeting the same fate and pretended to look away from the sanctuary that had just been outlawed. Kongou added in a low voice 「She’s more mature than her face lets on」 as he joined his hands in prayer seeing how Cophin was being chased around to be punished further.
While all that happened, the match continued between the two girls.
As Sasori sent more tornados from her dagger, this time they dissolved in midair. But the third tornado had not lost its fang yet, concealing a curved blade inside of it. That blade normally was loaded with venom, but since this was not a serious battle, it had none. Still, Sasori believed that if it latched on Mira she would win.
The blade closed into Mira’s feet as if sucked into them. In part, Sasori was afraid of targeting somewhere near Mira’s face, but more than that she had seen what Mira could do with her bare hands to her favorite spell, so she wanted to attack an area Mira’s hands would hardly reach.
A high pitched ring resounded as the blade shattered and its fragments fluttered down like leaves. Seeing that impenetrable shield pop up out of nowhere again, she yelled in an annoyed voice. A second later the shield and Mira vanished.
Earlier when Mira used a shield as smokescreen, she had summoned a second shield which she used as a foothold together with Ground Shrink to jump above her opponent’s head.
Since Sasori felt Mira’s presence almost instantly, she turned around the second the shields vanished. That acute perception and reactions were highly praised and welcomed by Mira.
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Sasori’s cheek twitched as she grunted. She was confident in her reaction times when she focused, but Danbulf’s summons which she was the most afraid of kept appearing. At the same time, Sasori slowly noticed just how different fighting Mira was compared to what had learned from other summoners which she knew.
(And she even got two of those… If I remember correctly summoners always go through a process of location, selection, consumption and release… And that was supposed to take at least two seconds for even the most basic summons, at least that’s what they told me!)
Sasori mentally screamed at her summoner friends before knitting her brow in thought. In front of her stood white and black knights, red eyes ablaze as they protected their princess.
(Wait no, fighting a decent opponent like her makes me want to go all out. I have to calm down, I should only be showing what a summoner can do.)
Behind the two knights, Mira scratched her chin while glancing at the audience, reprimanding herself before continuing.
「Well, let’s get serious now.」
After Mira said that, the Dark Knight left a dim afterimage as it charged ahead at high speed. It’s target was obviously the Hidden girl.
Sasori was shocked at that inhumane figure and movements, exclaiming 「Uwah, that was close!」 as she accepted Mira’s challenge.
The black sword swung tearing through the air like a relentless storm, which Sasori evaded as she tried to fill any opening with her daggers. She could tell the difference in their weapons and knew that even attempting to parrying the sword was useless, so her strategy revolved around evasion while trying to find a good opening.
But her opponent was an ephemeral creature that maintained its body through mana, so as long as that mana was not depleted any wound would get healed. Seeing all her strong attacks be nullified like that, Sasori frowned annoyed. Since Sasori was friends with other summoners, she had knowledge about them, so she only complained instead of getting dispirited, since someone who was unaware of how summons worked would think they were immortal and lose confidence.
Still, Sasori was starting to regret her earlier decision, evading attacks constantly without a moment’s rest, the Dark Knight recovering from any damage faster than she could even think about it.
Sasori continued attacking three more times, all the while swiftly dodgin its attacks, when the perfect opportunity presented itself and she swung her dagger. She attacked with all her might, creating a deep wound all along the Dark Knight’s torso that exceeded the regeneration speed.
The Dark Knight’s body crumbled like glass, the fragments splitting into small particles before vanishing. Seeing that invigorated Sasori, who watched it vanish with a smile. But that was very short lived as her gaze became sharp again and she ran away, or at least attempted to.
She thought she had just defeated it, but a Dark Knight stood right in front of her. She instinctively jumped backwards, desperate to increase the distance between her and the Dark Knight. She had convinced herself that she only had the Holy Knight left to deal with, the Dark Knight’s strong and powerful attacks making her forget the true strength of summoners. As long as they had mana left, they could rebuild their fighting strength.
Sasori had heard from her summoner friends that summoning a strong entity needed time and chanting. So if a summoner was engaged in close quarter combat it would be impossible for them to utter a word, even less chant, effectively sealing away their strongest powers. But lower class summons could be summoned in around two seconds, and they had a different physical composition to stronger ones. But Mira’s Dark Knights were so well-trained they overcame the limits of lower class summons, which is why Sasori was convinced she was fighting a higher class summon. Even though for Mira they were nothing but replaceable pieces she could summon as many as she wished.
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