“Good grief, ojou-chan really got me surprised there.”
“Your smell went on through the Barusak residence after all. There is some smell of blood mixed in. Did you fight someone there?”
His tone of voice was nonchalant, but the mood wrapping around him was one of seriousness. With his glint on his eyes sharp, he was glaring at Riku.
“This is against the orders, you know? Who was it you had to kill for you to go your way escape on your own like that?”
Without giving any response, Riku silently fixed her hold on the halberd.
Disobeying orders was an act that disarranged military order. Therefore, it was given a proportional punishment to the transgressors. In Riku´s case, it wasn´t weird even if she was to be claimed as having fled to human territory after going against her orders. (TL note: Not sure about the first line… 命令違反は軍旗を乱す行いだ )
The punishment for deserting was the heaviest…. It was death sentence.
It wouldn´t be weird if Vrusto had come to kill her.
“Hey, hey…. Won´t you explain, ojou-chan?”
Riku narrowed her eyes and watched his attitude.
There were no openings in his posture. However, for some strange reason, there were no signs there would be an attack coming. After pondering about for a while, Riku opened her lips, which before were tightly shut.
“It doesn´t matter who it was. More importantly, is your business with me only that? I am in hurry here. Can´t you move aside?”
If possible, she wanted to avoid fighting him. There was no way she could exhaust her stamina here despite how the time of the decisive battle was approaching.
However, Vrusto snorted, as if sneering at her.
“That´s a bit too much for a joke. By now, what is the point for ojou-chan to go after them by yourself?”
It seems Vrusto wouldn´t let her pass. Riku mentally clicked her tongue.
Vrusto had been together with her for ten years. Moreover, he was also her caretaker. It wasn´t exaggeration to say he knew by heart about her habits in battle, personality or movement patterns.
However, this was the same for Riku. She learned her techniques from Vrusto and improved on them.
“I won´t know that unless I try it.”
If Riku´s memories were correct, the last time she dueled against him was at Sherr island. Killing time until their plan would unfold, they sparred against each other. At that time, it was difficult for Riku to beat Vrusto, who would hit right at her weak points. Fortunately, Riku won then, but now she had only one arm. The chances of her to be able to parry his attacks and cause fatal damage should be about half.
Therefore, once it became a serious fight… It wouldn´t be possible to take it lightly.
At the moment either side was to lose focus, there would be no hesitations… The finishing blow would be dealt.
“Ojou-chan, do you think you will be able to kill with with only one hand?”
As she smiled, she was moving her horse.
With a slight of a combat stance, she leisurely approached Vrusto.(TL note: I´m not sure how to translate that to ->構えを解き<- to english T.T It means when you are in a sword stance where you are not necessarily going to attack the enemy, but that you are ready to react to any attack should the enemy try to attack you.)
“It feels that it will be tough to beat you with only one arm. That´s why I will follow what you say.”
Riku casted down her eyes.
The negotiations were a failure. Even if she was to carry on, it would be meaningless in the end. In that case, there was only one option she could take…
“That´s the rational decision. To think you would obediently give in…”
“Yes. After all, it is impossible to beat you with the way I am right now… That is…”
Riku´s and Vrusto´s horses were standing next to each other. In the next instant…
“…without killing you, you see.”
While saying that, Riku swung her halberd.
Cutting through the wind, she aimed at his neck. However, it seemed Vrusto read through her attack. Vrusto turned his body away and aimed his spear at Riku´s chest. Rotating the halberd in her hand, Riku deflected the spear thrust at her.
Because of the force, both horses were pushed back away from each other. Some space was made in between them.
“Stupid, you are thinking too naive.”
Provoking Riku, Vrusto barked.
“Coming forward after the opponent lowered his guard. This kind of thing has always been your favorite trick. There is no way I wouldn´t be on guard, you know!”
While saying that, he once again swung his spear. Giving a dreadfully distinctive shout, he continued to attack. As if the angry howl he brought from the depths of his chest was interconnected to his strength, even the might of his attacks increased. In the time Riku parried those attacks, she would be careful of his arms and legs more than she would usually be. Since she was a child, Vrusto would always make her know that battling wasn´t only attacking head-on in his training. He was handling his spear right now, but it would´t be weird if he threw his fist at her at the next instant.(TL note: Not sure about this ->一音、一音、やけにはっきりと大声で叫びながら槍を振り続ける<-)
With that said, she didn´t think punches and kicks would be useful in a horseback fight though.
“Quietly, accept your, defeat!”
“Even if you say that, your spear handling is rough, you know?”
Sharpening her reflexes, Riku also accepted the challenge.
Fortunately, while Vrusto´s handling with his spear was quite good, it wasn´t above Riku. Perhaps because the halberd attacks were heavy, every time he received an attack, his face would start showing off a deep complexion of pain. It was clear Vrusto would lose if this “head-on attacking” was to continue.
Riku was intending on sparing him if he was to accept his complete defeat considering the time they spent along. ….However, Vrusto wasn´t the type of man that would choose to do something like that.
“…You´ve become… a bit stronger, haven´t you?”
Hence, this was a battle at one´s life in risk; a battle full of unpredictable attacks.
“Thank you. But is this all you have?”
What Riku needed to be careful of was the weapon he was hiding with him, whether it was a knife, an explosive, or perhaps a flash bomb that would blind the eye. Perhaps he was going to throw his spear to have her attention averted and use that to throw in a knife or something of the sort.
“I am one-armed. Could it be you are taking it easy on me?”
“Hey, hey, it´s obvious I am taking it seriously!? Rather, isn´t your breath getting rough? Aren´t you getting tired?”
“What a joke. I can still keep on long enough.”
Being cornered, what kind of attack would Vrusto show?
Riku came up with some methods he could use, but she wasn´t able to guess to the point of knowing when he would use them. After pondering over it for a while, Riku raised the corners of her mouth with the feeling of happiness.
“Your arms… They lowered a little?”
Riku was showing an opening on purpose.
She also softened her expression and acted carefree.
Of course, Vrusto should have definitely understood that that was a trap. However, it still didn´t mean it wasn´t an opportunity.
“Han? Don´t get over yourself, you brat!”
Vrusto threw his spear. This was within Riku´s expectations. There was no mistake he had thrown a knife or something similar at the same time, having it hidden at the shadow of the spear.
If you knew what was going to happen beforehand, it would be easy to react. Lightly holding the reins, Riku made the horse move away from the attack. There was no need to deflect the spear with the halberd. Vrusto´s spear pierced the ground behind Riku. Moreover, Vrusto was still in the same stance he had when he threw the spear. The knife-like object, or whatever else dangerous weapon that had been thrown wasn´t able to make the miracle.
Riku couldn´t see any signs showing that Vrusto had another card to play.
“Shit, I missed!?”
“Did you think you would take me by surprise with only this much? ….Are you making fun of me?”
In horseback fights, losing one´s weapon was equal to losing the battle. Now that he used his hidden ace, he didn´t have any cards left in his hand that he could use.
“This is the end, second lieutenant Vrusto.”
It was easy to bring down an unarmed knight.
Unlikely to how it would usually be around Vrusto, Riku was having a bit of a bad feeling over him. But even so, Riku still was certain of her victory… But then it happened at the next instant.
She heard a soft sound from behind.
Riku reflexively turned back to the sound, but there was nobody there. However, there was no mistake she heard something. Glancing around, she spotted that the iron fittings of the spear pierced on the ground was shining. There was a small bell tied to the spear. No, it wasn´t only a bell. There was a line. The bell was connected to an extremely thin line. Glancing through at the string by her side, when her eyes arrived at the end of the string that was being pulled…
“It can´t be!?”
As if throwing her face into Vrusto´s direction, she turned her eyes to him. The string was tied around Vrusto´s wrist. In other words, the ring of the bell was in order to have Riku´s attention diverted.
“Even if you noticed now, it is too late!”
Vrusto had jumped off from his horse towards Riku. Like how the words would describe… it was a suicidal attack.
In order to defend against Vrusto´s claws, Riku hurriedly repositioned her halberd. Having suspected of Vrusto´s plan right at the instant he jumped at her, it had indeed been by a hair´s breadth.
“Like I thought, your head really isn´t working.”
Right at the time Riku swept her halberd horizontally against the suicidal attack, Vrusto bent his body. The halberd lost its target and ended up hitting only the air. Just like that, without being able to stop Vrusto´s attack…
…Vrusto´s claws deeply sunk into the horse´s chest and perforated it up to its abdomen. As to be expected, the horse couldn´t endure against that attack. The horse raised a cry due to the pain and had his front legs crumbled down.
As a result of the horse shaking, Riku slipped off the horse. She took a posture to take the fall and landed on the ground on her knee. The sharp claws were pointed right next to Riku´s throat.
That claw was the same that had pierced the horse and gone all the way to from his chest to its stomach. There was no mistake it could easily gorge something like the neck of a human.
“…So that´s where it ends…?”
While feeling the hardness of the claws at her neck, Riku muttered in a small voice. Vrusto looked at her with uninterested eyes.
“Hey, hey, it is too fast for you to be giving up. So you were really worn out in the end?”
While taking out an object with his free hand, Vrusto said, being somewhat surprised.(TL note: It doesn´t say where he takes it out from -.-)
“Normally you would be suspicious if your opponent kept shouting in order to hide the sound of a bell, you know? Since you weren´t able to realize it means that you were all tired.”
Moving his claws away from her neck, Vrusto pressed onto Riku´s hand a cold bottle of sorts. Looking at it, Riku saw it was a canteen made for military use. Seeming like there was a lot of water inside, the splashing sound of the water shaking could be heard.
“Go rest for a while. If you were to join the war when you are tired like this, you would only be a hassle.”
“There is still time until captain Leivein launches the attack. Hurry is the enemy of perfection.”
Vrusto also sat down on the ground and brought out the jerky that was used as emergency mantiments. The killing intent Riku felt in her skin disappeared like mist, and Vrusto wasn´t behaving like he would come attack her anymore. Riku thought about the possibility of this being an act, but it didn´t look to be the case in the end. While wondering in puzzlement, Riku smelled the water. There were no suspicious smells, and when she took a sip, it didn´t felt like there was anything different in particular.
It was really only water.
“…I was sure you came here to stop me.”
“You aren´t a girl that would be convinced to stop like that, right? Even if I brought you back, you would definitely still put resistance. And so, although it is a bit of a pain in the ass, I had to go have you rest by force.”
While chewing the jerky with his white teeth, Vrusto answered Riku´s question. He wasn´t even looking at Riku. As if he was examining the surroundings, the glint in his eyes shone through the darkness of the night.
Riku repeated Vrusto´s words, but he didn´t continue them. A moment of silence passed. When Riku was about to ask him again, Vrusto finally turned his eyes back to Riku. And then, raising up his hand that grew sharp claws…
“It is the responsibility of the instructor for the misconducts of his disciple. Now that it became like that, I will be following you around to the end.”
He lightly patted Riku´s shoulder.
It was blunt and rough. However, somehow it felt like a gentle manner of patting. Rubbing at the place she was patted at, Riku gazed at her another right-hand man other than Roppu Nezaarand.
“It´s none of my business if you die.”
“Stupid, I was resolved to die when I joined the Dragon Demon Division.”
Everything is fine, so go to rest already.
Hearing those words, sleepiness welled up deep inside her body.
Then, she remembered that for that period of few days she came, she pretty much didn´t sleep. Without resting since then, she had been riding her horse towards the land of the seal.
It was obvious she was sleepy.
“…Wake me up after three hours.”
“Understood, major general Riku.”
Without waiting for the response, Riku closed her heavy eyelids.
And just like that, she fell in deep sleep.
“Hmm, even though it would have been interesting if she had killed that guy. I wonder why he became her ally.”
There was a shadow merged in the darkness of the night whispering in boredom.
It was the shinigami. He was looking at the conversation between Riku and Vrusto while he was flapping his black wings.
“Rook and Raku also got together…. Maybe things will get a bit more stirred up.”
In a happy grin, the shinigami raised the corners of his mouth.
The more all the sorts of emotions were to get mixed up, more would the “accuracy” of the soul increase. (TL note: I dunno what accuracy means there -.- Besides, it doesn´t seem to be a typo. I guess it will be explained later ^^)
If the accuracy of the soul increased, it would make a banquet of taste that was difficult to run out of words to describe it.
The souls of Riku Barusak and Rook Barusak were indeed the apex of ecstasy itself. By just imagining about the future like that made his mouth was becoming overflown with saliva.
However, he would still wait. If he added a bit more seasoning, it would turn to an even higher level of tastiness.
“Although I need to properly be dealing with the irregulars of the world, in the end, I really want to have my meal once I am finished raising them to become delicious.”
While showing a smile of joy, he flew.
He was headed to the land of the seal of the Demon Lord, the [Valley of Twilight].