Three months had passed since the hellish training started.
During that, excluding the days that Kyrill didn’t have class, he was getting the training every day. It was to acquire the basic skills required to break through the forest on his own――escape arts but, its true form was nothing like that.
Recently, he felt that the Practical Basics that he was undergoing in the academy are child’s play.
Kyrill ran between the trees while catching his breath. He was escaping from the pursuer from behind.
Just that, it was clearly different than two months ago. The one pursuing him wasn’t Rona, but a wild beast in the flesh. It was making noise as it crawled on the ground, it is a six-foot arthropod-type beast with glossy black shell covering its body.
Because of its characteristics that has fangs curving inwards that resembled a pair of blades, it is commonly known as the 『Twin Swords』.
Although its body is only about eighty centimeters in size, the Twin Swords’ name is proof that its fangs aren’t just decorations. It had enough power to easily sever one or two human limbs.
Although it’s considered the weaker bunch in this forest, they’re still many levels above other beasts. For Kyrill who didn’t have any combat experience, it is an undeniable fact that the Twin Swords might end his life here.
Its movement isn’t all that quick. But unlike Kyrill who is moving slower due to the bad foothold in the forest, the forest is its natural habitat. Even the soft patches of ground and overgrown bush wouldn’t stop its momentum at all.
「I-If it’s like this」
――It will catch on.
Kyrill who judged so started chanting as he ran.
「The penetrating, pebble of the――」
Because he had to concentrate on the chanting, his legs were slower.
「――Unwavering heroism of the knight ―――」
Kyrill heard the loud footsteps that indicated that the Twin Swords was rushing in from behind. Just as the sound was about to reach Kyrill’s back――.
Kyrill unleashed his magic as he turned around.
From beneath the Twin Swords that closed the distance in a furious momentum, a spear of rock manifested. Without having a chance to react to the attack that came from its blind spot, the Twin Swords took a stab right in its vulnerable stomach.
But as expected, the magic he casted without looking properly was lacking in precision, it wasn’t able to deal critical damage. Although the Twin Swords is already punctured in its stomach and had its bodily fluids leaking from the insides, it didn’t seem to have any intentions of giving up on Kyrill.
「Haa, haa, haa……」
While gasping for air, Kyrill started calculating his chances now meticulously.
The distance is almost nothing. It is a distance that would be fatal for Kyrill who is unfamiliar with close quarters combat.
On the other hand, the Twin Swords is already injured. Although its greatest weapon was still in good shape, two of its six legs were already crushed. Seeing the fluids leaking out of its body, Kyrill thought that it wouldn’t last long, time will be his best friend.
Kyrill thought more. He might be able to shave away at the Twin Swords’ stamina if he kept it up.
But when would its stamina actually give out. After all, arthropod-type beasts are often tougher than they looked. If he wasted time for it to run out of stamina, there’s the possibility that some other beast might come too.
Then will the better choice be finish it off quickly and get away?
For that, Kyrill who is a magician must chant once again to cast another magic spell. But their distance is too close. His chant might agitate the Twin Swords, becoming the trigger to pounce on him. Could he really defend against the Twin Swords as he chanted.
Normally, it would be a distance too dangerous to face off the Twin Swords with its deadly blade attacks. But now that its two feet is crushed, the damage on it wasn’t little. How much effect would that have on its mobility, Kyrill who was a novice in fighting couldn’t estimate that.
The short time that seemed long continued flowing.
The first that moved was the Twin Swords. With a soft rustling sound, the Twin Swords that still had its four legs started to close the distance.
「The penetrating pebble of the―― Uwah! 」
Kyrill who judged that there’s no longer any time remaining to think about anything immediately started to chant, but it became the gap that the Twin Swords aimed for.
Dodging the fangs of the Twin Swords that came at him, Kyrill threw himself to the left. The location where Kyrill was at just a moment ago, the Twin Swords’ black body dived in there.
In order to dodge the Twin Swords that leapt at him, Kyrill rolled into dirt and fallen leaves and took distance.
「The penetrating pebble of the unwavering heroism of the knight ――― Dessel! 」(Earth)
Verifying that he had took enough distance, Kyrill immediately moved on to the next attack.
But the Twin Swords is the same that it had recovered a little. With an agility that’s unthinkable for something injured, it leapt in a straight line to Kyrill.
As for Kyrill’s attack magic, it had magnificently broken apart the branches that was beside the Twin Swords, Kyrill was more than understood that his last effort was meaningless.
With the Twin Swords leaping towards him, the two fangs started a wide trajectory, they were trying to take Kyrill’s neck off.
Kyrill’s entire body’s muscles tensed up, as coldness crawled up his back. Where did he make a mistake, the moment where his life was about to end without even knowing the answer――.
What he heard was a dry sound of the air bursting apart. And the next moment, the Twin Swords had disappeared from his vision, and something hit the ground.
Kyrill who was petrified moved his gaze downwards. With a single short sword piercing through it, the Twin Swords was magnificently affixed to the ground.
Kyrill had an idea of the sword’s owner as he called out his name. At the same time, his waist gave out and he collapsed on the ground.
How many times had he come so close to death? Under the pretense of live combat, for the sake that he could break through the forest by himself, Kyrill was receiving the training unbefitting for a magician as usual.
Ardis was watching just in case something went wrong, but he would only interfere in the last of the last moments. Although there was definite growth for Kyrill being chased down to the last moment every day, Kyrill himself felt that his lifespan was decreasing each time.
Ardis walked to Kyrill’s side and started commenting on the training session today.
「It was really close. Switching to offense while you were running away itself wasn’t wrong. But it’s a little too late I suppose. About ten seconds earlier, you would’ve had time to aim properly. 」
Although Ardis’s training main objective was to make Kyrill capable of escaping from the beasts in the forest, only and only escaping isn’t the best solution every time.
Occasions he wouldn’t be able to escape, occasions that attacking the opponent to weaken its mobility to increase his chances, or occasions that Kyrill himself decides that he can take on a fight are well within topic.
Though, even the weakest creature in the forest, the Twin Swords is a handful for Kyrill even if there was only one of them.
『It would be troubling for me if you can’t take on a Ractor or two. 』
Ardis who said so was asking the impossible, Kyrill who now had the knowledge gained in the academy understood well.
「The first attack being 『Dessel』 was good but, as for the second attack when you were being closed in, rather than that, it might’ve been better to use 『Sleeping Haze』. It’s effective on beasts like Twin Swords. Not just able to incapacitate it in one go, it’ll be fine even if your aim is off a little. It’s worthy to give it a try. By the way, Sleeping Haze is also effective for Ractors, better if you remember it. 」
「But if there wasn’t any effect, then it would’ve come right at me though? 」
「Well true. That’s why you need to differentiate when to use it best. As for that, just experience more fight and it will naturally come to you. 」
Kyrill had a complicated feeling. After all, if he had to continue experience more fights like this, he would have to come close to death than ever before every time.
The huge sigh that almost came out again, Kyrill managed to hold it in.
Although Ardis didn’t knew it, Kyrill is still one of the best students having good grades in the academy. With his natural earnestness, he was able to learn through the lectures without any difficulties and getting a good score on the regular examinations wasn’t hard for him. Even his practical skills were above average there, as commended by the instructors.
But, whatever confidence he would gain in the academy, without even able to feel proud of what he did, he would be struck to the earth on the exact same day.
After all, he was running around the forest chased by some carnivorous beast every day. Even if he had a little confidence, it’s natural that all of it would disperse together with his stamina as he ran through the forest.
Today is the same, Kyrill had lost his confidence again, and Ardis was patting his head.
「You’ve gotten enough stamina now, and the magic you can use is good enough for live combat. I’m not asking you to face off a demonic being at this point. As long as you get used to it, a Twin Swords or a Ractor wouldn’t be an issue at all. 」
「Wouldn’t be an issue right……」
Although he wasn’t so sure about Twin Swords, Ractors are taught as 『Dangerous beasts that can’t be defeated by anyone but veteran mercenaries』 in the academy.
At the very least, students like Kyrill weren’t expected to even put up a fight against it.
They were constantly reminded not to ever get in areas that are known to have Ractors inhabiting unless with excellent escorts. It seems like there was a case in the past where students in the academy went into the Corsas Forest without any escorts, and caused troubles all over the place.
In the end, they were all saved by mercenaries who accepted the search and rescue request but, it seems that the price for that was huge, it was the story that his classmates who loved rumors told.
「Not even an escort, what am I actually doing here by myself……」
Kyrill muttered so unintentionally, and Ardis reacted to that.
「Nn? What about escort? 」
「No, it’s nothing. 」
Even if he told Ardis about it, there wasn’t any slight chance that Ardis would change anything. Let’s stop thinking about unproductive things, Kyrill decided to not think about the 『Common sense』 of the forest that was taught in the academy.