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When I arrived at the agreed location, she was already standing there.
“Isn’t this the first time…you come in time?” (Hisame)
She must have noticed from my presence.
Hisame turned around naturally as I approached, and she laughed lightly after saying this.
“Now that you mention it, that’s true. It seems like I made you wait quite a lot today, and I do feel bad about it.” (Souma)
Hisame shook her head to the sides at my apology.
“No, I simply couldn’t wait; for today, for this moment.” (Hisame)
What a strange sensation.
Hisame wasn’t answering me with her usual expressionless face she always has plastered.
I didn’t even need to look at her cat ears. There were emotions fitting her age showing in her face.
“Isn’t that funny? Even though I decided to live by the sword, my heart would throb just from thinking about passing time with you…like a maiden in love.” (Hisame)
But contrary to her words, I could feel no fighting spirit from what she was saying.
She probably understands from instinct that her body will perform at top condition if she were to do that.
She was facing me completely in her natural state.
This is why geniuses are so hard to manage.
I look at both sides while smiling wryly.
“Looks like you have finished preparations.” (Souma)
“Yeah, I can begin at once.” (Hisame)
She must have prepared this beforehand for the sake of today’s match.
A circle was drawn around with shining powder.
Meaning that the inside of this circle will be today’s duel stage.
When I spoke behind me, Ringo moved away from me in understanding and went outside of the circle.
She hugged the bear at her chest even harder.
“…Don’t push yourself.” (Ringo)
She gave me those words of encouragement.
I tell her it is okay, not with words, but with my expression.
She silently watched me walk towards her.
I stopped at a certain distance from Hisame, and she said with a calm tone.
“I might have been waiting this whole time; for someone who would threaten my strength, someone who could defeat me. In other words, someone like you.” (Hisame)
“You are putting me on a pretty high pedestal there.” (Souma)
I say this, but it is not like I don’t understand her.
Considering the events in the game, I can comprehend why she would continue searching for a powerful opponent that matches her.
She is a troublesome one to deal with, but it doesn’t feel bad to be desired this much.
“Aah, I really am looking forward to it. My one grievance here is that this is not a match with our lives on the line. But considering that I can fight you countless times from here on thanks to that, that might be better.” (Hisame)
On top of all that, Hisame said that joyfully.
“Nah, sorry to break your bubble, but that ain’t happening.” (Souma)
I must not agree to what she said just now.
I slowly shake my head to the sides.
“Sorry to say this, but there won’t be a second for this. When I am done with you, you won’t be able to say that ever again.” (Souma)
I say this as a gentleman.
She must have taken that as provocation before the battle.
“That sounds promising.” (Hisame)
Hisame curved her lips in joy at the feeling of a fierce battle.
But she doesn’t get it.
This isn’t me threatening or provoking her.
These are my true feelings.
I have a strange fate with Hisame.
I wouldn’t say we are in a favorable relationship by any means, but she might be the person I have known the longest within the people in this world.
But that will end today.
I was relieved by this reality, and at the same time, felt sad about it. Even so, it doesn’t change what I have to do.
A life is at stake here, even if indirectly.
There’s no choice of falling back here.
“It is about time we begin.” (Souma)
She responds to that.
As if we had agreed beforehand, Hisame unsheathed her Tsukikage, and I unsheathed the Golden Sakura that I borrowed from Ringo at the same time.
And the first one to speak was Hisame.
“Disciple of the Hisame Sword Style, Mitsuki Hisame, challenges Sagara Souma to a duel.” (Hisame)
As she pledges the oath, powerful pressure blows from Hisame.
I receive that as I do the oath too.
“Adventurer, Sagara Souma, accept the duel of Mitsuki Hisame and swear to fight to the limit of my strength.” (Souma)
The duel was established with my response, and the moment Hisame and I were enveloped in light…
“Don’t die, okay?” (Hisame)
I got goosebumps in the presence of death, and my body was about to step back in reflex…
But the surprise attack I was expecting didn’t happen.
It was actually Hisame who swayed to the back…
(?! Crap!!) (Souma)
I was bewitched for a moment, for a truly brief instant, at the unexpected words and movements, and ended up missing those motions of hers.
You should be able to understand if you see this calmly.
This mysterious withdrawal of hers is a preliminary motion for Hisame’s skill.
The signs of Hisame using her strongest trump card that she rarely uses in 1v1s.
(Can I make it in time?!) (Souma)
My brain was burning here as I Order the spell I prepared.
If Hisame activates this skill, it will be the end. It is even said it is impossible to avoid.
But I missed the best moment to crush that skill which was right at the very beginning.
I won’t make it in time even if I were to close the distance.
I confirm where Hisame is as if praying and…
At the same time my ears caught that clear voice…
It looked as if the movements of Hisame stopped and…
Appeared -when I thought this, I was already surrounded.
8…Hisames had surrounded me with their weapons raised.
My heart was grasped with an overwhelming sense of death.
(This is…) (Souma)
The ultimate attack of Hisame that’s said to be impossible to avoid once it is activated.
This skill that was crowned with the name of the school is a one-hit kill.
After a characteristic preliminary motion, she approaches the enemy at high speed, creates 7 afterimages by some sort of ability logic, and rains down her enemy with slashes from all sides that ignore defense; a cheat level skill.
This technique that was simple game data before is now heading at me.
I could see that the slashes that had enough power to kill me in one hit were coming at me from all directions.
And then, my body cowered at the closing blades.
“[Absolute Guard]!!” (Souma)
At the same time as my skill activated…
Surprise came out from the mouth of the surrounding Hisames.
The slashes that the Hisames did all bounced off from the pitch-black light bursting out from my body.
It may look like she has cloned herself here, but each and every one of them has the attack power of the original.
On top of that, Hisame’s attack is already strong in and of itself, and yet, the attack ignores defense.
‘There’s no way he would have a defensive skill that can take on 8 of those attacks’ -is most likely what Hisame thought.
And she is right.
It is not exactly a defensive skill.
What I used was the 1st skill of the Ninja Sword and the most simple stealth type, [Hide].
The effect of that skill is really slight. Originally, this skill would only have the effect of ‘lowering the chances of being found by others’.
This skill that you definitely wouldn’t use in a situation where your enemy is closing in on you…actually has a hidden trait.
When you use this skill, the black effect that covers your body actually has substance.
Even if it does have substance, it is in the end just a visual effect.
It is not like it has parameters set to it.
But it is exactly because it is just a visual effect that you can’t damage it, and can’t destroy it.
Thus, it can become an absolute guardian for the user. Technically an invincibility frame in practice.
However, this technique has a big weak point.
At the time when I first met Hisame and she thrusted her katana at my throat, I couldn’t use this skill.
It is because when you use Hide once, you can’t use Hide again until the effect is over.
It is easy to use and handy, but it has the weak point that you can’t use it consecutively.
With both of our skills ending, I face Hisame who is now alone after all of her afterimages disappeared.
Right now we should both be skill stunned, meaning that we can’t use skills and spells.
However, there’s one attack you can do in that stunned state.
“Capture her! [Triple B]!!” (Souma)
The moment I shout this, a magic effect activates in my body.
This is my 2nd Anti-Hisame trump card.
I matched the timing to the moment when the skill stun would happen, and had this spell do a Time Activation.
Before coming to this place, I chanted a certain big spell, and brought it to the chant standby state.
And the moment I noticed that Hisame was going to attack, I set the spell to activate 2 seconds after, and used the Hide skill.
“This is…?!” (Hisame)
With the activation of the spell, a giant strange creature was summoned above us, and a light effect scattered.
This gorgeous light effect headed straight towards us, and then flew around us, coloring our surroundings.
But even in a situation like that, Hisame was unfazed.
“A binding spell, huh. What a pointless try. Abnormal status effects don’t work on me.” (Hisame)
She instead said this full of confidence.
“I wonder about that.” (Souma)
I also have confidence.
The skill stun eventually wore off, and just as Hisame said, she tried to move her body to prove that debuffing magic doesn’t work on her.
“Why?! I can’t resist it?!” (Hisame)
Shock showed in her face at the completely unknown experience.
But that’s natural.
If this were an actual harmful spell, Hisame would have easily resisted it, and if what I casted on Hisame was a debuff, it wouldn’t have been effective.
But the spell I am using here is different.
“Too bad, Hisame. Even you can’t resist this one. That’s because…” (Souma)
Saying this, I look at what is spreading its light effect around…at the giant blue bird.
“…It is a healing spell after all.” (Souma)
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