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Chapter: 100


T/N: Heads up, this chapter gets dark. Civil wars are rarely a clean, honorable business, like any sort of war.

From here on out, I’m going to kill my former disciple.

I didn’t want to do this if it was possible. I’m a little doubtful if you asked if I’m prepared.

Rose was a former disciple who attended my dojo for a short time, one and a half years. She was enthusiastic about Suphinism and prayed to her god whenever she had a chance.

There are countless times where she’s gotten bitter faces in response to her enthusiastic proselytizing. However, although her time with me was a hectic period, I always had good memories of her, as she always had a smile on her face.

"… Hm-hmm," Rose chuckled. "Well then, I’ll be resisting now~."

She is wearing full-plate armor. If we were to run in a straight line, I’d be faster. She probably knows that, too.

She holds her kite so that half of her body is hidden behind it, she lowers the tip of her estoc, she seems to be aiming for my lower half.

She wasn’t using a shield when she was in my dojo. However, even when I recall her practice sessions at the dojo, she was still good at counterattacking from defensive stances.

From then on, her technique would have been further refined. With the shield, her defense must be even more robust.

Will my power overcome her defense?

To begin with, can I properly wield my sword against Rose?

I have never had the chance to have a serious battle with my disciples using anything other than wooden swords. It’s true that I want to stop her, but given that I was probably going to kill a disciple I knew personally, my decision was conflicted.

"Hah!"

The answer is still unclear, the battle begins as Rose steps in.

"Toh!"

I parry the estoc that tried to pierce straight to my side.

Rose is good at defending but she’s not bad at attacking. If she wanted to, she had enough ability to take the offensive.

In fact, her previous lunge was so sharp you couldn’t have imagined she was in heavy armor.

"Hyuh!"

Rose twisted her wrist beautifully without going against the force of the parried estoc, she began a horizontal slash.

A peculiar whooshing sound filled the air, Rose’s estoc went up and down again and again.

"… Kuh!"

It’s time to defend against an attacking sword.

Damn it, I understood this but Rose is also quite strong! The speed and weight are unimaginable for someone in full-plate armor.

This strength is familiar thanks to recent battles.

It’s close to Spur’s sword technique, who I fought he fought before I captured Bishop Lebios.

He does not use all his weight and uses the rotation of his shoulders and hips to accelerate the tip of his sword. In short, it can be parried or prevented from hitting, but it’s difficult to launch a counterattack in turn.

With that said, the only way to overcome this situation is to go on the offensive from here.

"Hm-hmm!" Rose giggled. "Master, what’s wrong?!"

"…!"

Perhaps she realized my determination was conflicted, she kept attacking with her estoc with enthusiasm.

Both me and Rose are defensive specialists, to begin with.

Strictly speaking, I’m more the "Parry" type and Rose is a little different from the "Defensive Stance" type, but in any case, I’m not the kind of swordsman that takes the initiative in a battle to set up my opponent for a strike.

However, the Rose I knew was all about defense, and her number of attacks was rather small. It may be good to say that she’s watching her opponents carefully, but she observed them for too long and too much.

That’s why I remembered that I mainly taught her about effective offensives and how to move her lower body.

And now that education is being to good use now. Rose’s ability has increased enough to make me feel that.

"… Won’t you fight me, Master?!" Rose cried.

I couldn’t attack because of the turmoil in my emotions, and Rose is actively taking on the offense, probably because there is no time left.

It’s a strange situation. When I was sparring with her at the dojo, it should have been a more peaceful and elegant exchange of blows.

"I am here because I have made a decision!" Rose cried.

"…!"

She brought her estoc down and overreached.

Now was my chance to fight back. If I aimed for a strike after a parry, I would have been hit with a counter-blow, if not a fatal injury.

However, my sword didn’t move forward at all.

"Will you stop this?!" Rose cried. "Will you stop me?!"

Both her physical and verbal attacks are non-stop.

Her sword swings are certainly beautiful, but by all accounts, this offensive was far from the usual Rose I knew.

I also have my doubts.

But more than that, I felt that Rose’s sword hand was conflicted, too.

"If you can stop, please, do try!" Rose cried. "… Try and stop me!!"

She swung her estoc vertically, I parried it.

With that momentum, Rose’s legs stopped a little, and at that moment, I took a step or two back.

"… Rose," I started, "Are you…"

"Mmm-hm-hm," Rose chuckled, interrupting me. "I’m a bit upset, aren’t I?" she said in her usual tone.

Rose, are you–

Are you lost?

I closed my mouth before I asked it out loud.

If I did it now, Rose wouldn’t answer. To begin with, if I could reason with her to put her sword down, this fight wouldn’t be happening.

In a battlefield, it’s chaos.

It is not uncommon for true intentions to leak out under such stressful circumstances. When I was dueling with Henblitz and Selena, they were baring their hearts to me through their shouts and cries.

What if Rose wanted someone to stop her heinous acts?

It may be a convenient assumption, on my part. I may be misunderstanding things.

But:

The Rose I knew,

No matter what kind of duels we had in the past, she wasn’t this talkative.

"… Fuuh," Rose sighed, "you’re strong after all, aren’t you, Master~? I don’t think I can get one over you."

Rose showed a fierce offensive, but she wasn’t out of breath.

I think she still had plenty of physical strength. This battle cannot be extended so far unless you continue to condition yourself extensively. It is proof that we have not neglected our daily training. I’m happy for it in and of itself, but I’m worried that all that strength we’ve developed is being used for this.

"Then, will you surrender?" I asked.

I was praying for a ray of hope.

If Rose gives into this, it’s almost the best result. We don’t have to hurt either of us and I can take my time changing her beliefs later.

"… I can’t. I can’t do that, Master."

However, it seems there’s no effect.

The faint hope is crushed with a clear, unambiguous rejection.

"… I’m sure I can’t beat you, Master. I just found and met you again, after all~!" Rose said.

"Then why–" I started.

"But, I can’t stop," Rose said. "If I’ve come this far, it’s already too late."

Rose smiles like before.

"If I fail here, all the child captives will die."

"Wha…?" I asked.

Rose’s face made it abundantly clear she was making a confession.

"I guess the Pope wants us to win, you know~?" Rose said. "Even if he wouldn’t do that, I’m not going to cut corners."

"…"

You monster.

Such words rise up my throat but I managed to hold them back. Even if I tell Rose my feelings, it won’t change anything.

It’s easy to imagine. Take the children as hostages, she may be convinced to move. She had no falsehoods about wanting to save her country, I’ve found.

But all this is just too much.

I don’t know what’s going on inside Supheniardvania. However, when I see my cute former disciple being beaten down like this, I can pretend to have seen nothing.

I finally understood why she couldn’t be persuaded to stand down with words.

"Master," Rose said.

"… What is it?" I asked.

She spins like she’s singing.

"Please, stop me. I’ve been a terrible student, I deserve punishment."

She repositioned her estoc with a tragic determination in her eyes.

"… Fuuuuhhh…"

A huge sigh. She exhaled loudly.

Even if she’s at a disadvantage as it was, nothing will improve.

This battle can’t be prolonged anymore.

I, too, will make a decision.

"Rose," I said.

"… Yes~?" Rose replied.

I hold my sword straight and keep my eyes straight.

"I’m going to kill you."

There is no reply.

"…"

Instead, I got a smile that seemed like everything was as usual.

She holds her shield firmly and braces for an attack. Rose’s original form was there.

I don’t know how she has grown since she left the dojo. On the other hand, Rose doesn’t know what kind of life I’ve been living recently.

My power has almost leveled off at this point. Even if I keep swinging my sword for a few years at this age, I can’t expect dramatic growth.

However, there is only one thing that I have now, that past me did not have.

"Fuh!"

Two steps.

I lunge and then swing my sword diagonally downwards.

I’m not that sharp. I’m a little ridiculous and confident in my reaction speed, but in terms of simple physical ability, I am far inferior to Alexia and Henblitz.

At best, it’s a little better than a man of my age.

Rose, who spent time with me, naturally has the same amount of information.

So she chose to defend with her shield over evasion, which would have had much more movement.

With my strength, it is impossible to defeat the defending Rose with a single blow. I know it best because I know my strength well. And, of course, Rose would have known.

Block my attack with the shield and be ready to counter.

The idea itself is correct. Combined with her high skill, it is a strategy that can be thwarted with normal measures.

However:

I’m not using a normal sword.

And Rose does not know the sharpness of this sword.

"… Huh–"

Rose’s smile, so confident in her absolute defense, disappears.

With the downward momentum, my sword cuts through Rose’s kite shield without difficulty.

The brute force crushes the heavy full-plate armor easily.

I carved a line on her chest that would never disappear.

"Gah… ahh….?!"

Rose staggers one or two steps from the unexpected slash and finally kneels.

Fresh blood spills from her chest.

The smile disappeared completely, she was shocked and panicked. You wouldn’t have expected that your favorite shield and heavy armor would be broken with just one blow.

It seems that the blade did not reach the lungs, fortunately, or unfortunately, she wasn’t going to die spitting up blood.

However, she is still seriously injured to the point that it’s impossible to continue fighting. If you don’t stop the bleeding fast, it could be life-threatening.

"… I couldn’t go easy on you, you know," I said.

There was nothing else to do.

There is no need to kill her myself. I swung my sword with that intention.

Regardless of the circumstances, I wouldn’t count on her surviving serious suspicion of trying to assassinate two royal families.

And now, I can understand Gatoga’s feelings to some extent.

I’m not a relative of Rose, but if my ex-disciple had turned to crime, I, her former master, should bring her to justice. I also fought with that belief.

"Uh… guuhh…!"

I look down at Rose, moaning and somehow getting up.

What kind of face do I have now? Am I sad? I’m not sure myself.

"It’s over, Rose."

The words that came out were so cold, that they surprised me.


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