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The one-sided slaughter proceeded as he planned. Every twirl Ardis performed, more enemies fell. The flying swords that had long become uncountable were like volleys of arrows that followed the cavalries.
The enemies were stopped in their tracks with no formation that can be seen. Excluding the cavalries in the middle who can see Ardis, most others bit the dust while not having an idea who they’re fighting against.
Of course, Ardis isn’t as free as he seems. It was a result brought forth after bringing chaos to the enemy and the enemy’s firm intention to kill Ardis. If that many numbers were pointing at Kyrill and the other students from the start, even Ardis couldn’t possibly protect them perfectly.
But the current scenario is as Ardis thought. The enemy cavalries had judged that Ardis alone is not a threat and can be easily removed. But now that their plan had failed, Ardis had become an element of danger that they can’t ignore.
Another cavalry spewed blood as he fell off the horse. Kicking the back of the horse that lost its rider, the moment when Ardis who leaped and landed, there was a dagger that was thrown aiming at his feet.
At the unexpectedly sharp throw, Ardis panickily twisted his body, and the dagger that was aimed at his foot struck into the earth deep.
Seeing Ardis’s posture break, the cavalry that threw the dagger rushed in. To welcome the cavalry who used a lance on his horse, Ardis controlled 『Moon’s Blizzard』, coming from the enemy’s side.
But the attack that was supposed to be unexpected was swung away by the cavalry’s long sword. Although Ardis was taken back for a moment, he immediately regained himself and decided to take on the enemy’s attack himself.
Leaping backwards a slight distance, the same time as he landed, his leg forcefully changed his vector forward. Closing the distance in a moment, he slashed upwards from the enemy’s feet while holding 『Skies of Myriad Colors』 firmly in his hands.
The sharpness was unparalleled.
It was the same attack that had robbed many calvaries of their lives. But that was――.
「You can block it huh! 」
Ardis’s surprised feelings became words unintentionally.
His attack was deflected by the long sword, Ardis who tried to follow up another attack and step in further suddenly felt chill at his back. Towards Ardis who had basically retreated in instincts, the enemy thrusted the lance in his right hand.
Realizing that his retreat won’t be in time, Ardis immediately put up a barrier. The barrier that Ardis manifested to cover himself from the sharp end of the lance, was destroyed in the same moment it was created.
The enemy’s thrust was much sharper than he had thought.
Having said so, even if it couldn’t completely stop the enemy’s lance, it had weakened its momentum for a moment. For Ardis, that moment is enough.
Having seen through where the tip of the lance would eventually reach, he felt through his senses that he would be able to avoid it, but his expectation was proved false in the next moment.
Looking at the tip of the lance that extended past where it should’ve stopped, Ardis’s felt his hair standing.
Immediately putting up 『Springtime Mist』 and 『Moon’s Blizzard』 ahead, the two swords pushed the lance towards the right while Ardis himself avoided to the left. The lance passed by Ardis by a hair breadth.
At the same time, Ardis understood the reason why the lance was cornering him. After the enemy had broken Ardis’s barrier, it’s likely he had realized that the lance wouldn’t reach, and he tried extending the range by loosening his grip. Although it was a single-use surprise attack, it was more than enough to catch Ardis by surprise and make him sweat cold.
Just as he sensed the next danger and raised Skies of Myriad Colors overhead, a heavy blow landed.
「Hou! You can block this too huh! 」
The cavalry had a huge grin as if he was impressed.
His armor is much more extravagant, it’s obvious that he’s different from the normal cavalries. His voice is similar to the voice shouting out commands to the other cavalries earlier.
「It’s a surprise to see someone of this caliber from the Kingdom! 」
The cavalry that is thought to be the commander became louder as he crossed swords with Ardis.
「It’s the same for you. 」
Ardis on the other hand looked surprised as well. After all, it is the second person that he’d encountered after Ted from 『Bright Stars of White Night』 that can so easily defend against Ardis’s attacks with pure martial arts.
「Although your strength is a little wasteful to perish here, you had already killed many of my men, so――」
The two was clashing into each other with power behind their attacks, but it was the cavalry commander who broke the balance first.
「I will have you die here! 」
The long sword gracefully redirected Ardis’s sword. Ardis had his stance broken along with the sword that was redirected, and the cavalry commander decided to strike at the gap.
Of course, that attack was expected by Ardis.
「No thanks! 」
Ardis who tried to turn around Skies of Myriad Colors that was heading into the earth realized that he had failed to take back the initiative. The cavalry commander along with his long sword covered his entire sight.
(With his whole body!?)
The cavalry commander had ditched the horseback, and jumped into Ardis along with his body weight.
(Aiming to hold me down huh!)
Ardis realized his intentions and tried to kick at his crotch but, it seems like the enemy had read it as well, as he turned his knees inwards and blocked it. But because of that, his posture of trying to hold Ardis down broke.
The two body crashed. Immediately redirecting the momentum by turning the other half of his body, Ardis quickly took distance by leaping backwards. Ardis looked strange at the cavalry commander who abandoned his horse without any hesitation.
「You are quite thoughtful huh. 」
「It’s not like riding on horseback can do anything better in this situation. 」
「Make sense. 」
Ardis agreed with the cavalry commander who was standing up. Hearing from the black-haired young man, the cavalry commander narrowed his eyes with an expression that said just as I thought.
「You, no way you’re a normal mercenary. Who are you? 」
「Though it might disappoint you, I’m sadly just a mercenary. 」
「Hmph! As if a mercenary can so easily go against a thousand men of mine from our proud flying horse cavalry unit? Don’t be joking. 」
「Jokes or not aside, it’s the reality. And whoever I might be or whoever you might be, is that something that matters here? 」
Unfazed by Ardis’s provocative tone, the commander closed his mouth. After a long but short while of silence, he finally spoke as if regretting it.
「……Underestimating because you are only alone, it was my mistake to have stopped my unit huh. 」
But there’s nothing to say now. If the enemy cavalries had knew Ardis’s sword magic, then it wouldn’t have proceeded this smoothly. If they had knew to avoid a tough opponent, they could’ve at least dealt some damage to those that are behind Ardis.
「Now you’re being honest. Why not just retreat knowing your defeat while you’re at it, that would really be appreciated. 」
「Jokes! With so many of my men dead, no way I can retreat cowardly! 」
The commander yelled while swinging the long sword grasped by both his hands down. Skies of Myriad Colors that took that attack reflected the color of the sky from the blade.
Parrying the attack front on, Ardis drew an arc and flowed the direction of his sword straight to the enemy’s legs. As the commander tried to avoid it by backstepping, Ardis immediately went on the offense and closed the distance further.
One hit, two hits, three hits. Every time the swords in the both’s hands clashed, a dull metal ringing sound reverberated. The commander sword came from the side towards Ardis’s abdomen.
「So young, yet that skillful! 」
「Well thanks for that! 」
Turning that away with Skies of Myriad Colors, Ardis tried to counterattack aiming for his wrist, but it hit the air. The commander that retreated half a body away had took some distance to recover.
「We can’t continue this forever, it’s about time for a finisher. 」
「Sounds good. 」
Ardis had short words while he took a stance with Skies of Myriad Colors, staring at the commander.
(Nn? The mana……)
Ardis who was paying attention at the commander felt the flow of the mana around changed. At the same time, unfamiliar words were woven from the commander’s mouth.
「――I am power, I am sharp, I am will. ――Crimson sound, black essence of words, silver lifeforce. All of which returns here――Shen・Ra」 (Deceiving Air)
(A chant? What is it?)
It was a chant that Ardis had never heard before. It’s certain that it is a move that utilized mana in some way but, even Ardis couldn’t guess or know the nature of a magic that he’d never seen before.
Along with the chant ending, the commander dished out a sharp slash towards Ardis with his long sword.
From how he moved, Ardis who predicted it might be either body strengthening magic or some kind of lingering effects applied on his weapon decided to deploy physical barrier rather than magic barrier.
Unlike the barrier that was lacking in integrity and broken through as it was created in a hurry earlier, the barrier this time is woven from mana in a tight formation.
「You’re mine! 」
The long sword was thrusted out from the commander’s hand along with a war cry. Even if it can’t completely block it, the moment Ardis thought that his momentum would be dulled without mistake was shocked when the sword passed through the barrier as if it didn’t exist there in the first place.
(It passed through!?)
Ardis was shocked at the unexpected development panickily tried to parry the sword, but the blade itself had no response.
Ardis saw through the nature of the magic used by the commander. But that same moment, the real long sword that the commander thrusted out is already right in front of Ardis’s eyes.
Faster than his thoughts, Ardis’s instincts recalled his flying swords.
As he was leaping backwards, five flying swords combined, forming a pentagonal shape while he was falling backwards. And just as the long sword entered the pentagon, the swords revolved around it.
This time, it was the commander’s turn to be surprised.
The blade of the long sword tangled with the flying swords, the commander panickily withdrew his sword before it was blown away but, of course, Ardis won’t let the chance slip.
Taking use of the moment when the long sword was pulled back, Ardis kicked against the ground and dived into the commander in an instant.
The voice cut off as he realized his failure. Without the chance to evade, Skies of Myriad Colors ripped his throat open. The commander’s body slowly tilted sideways, and fell on the ground decorated with red blood.
Facing the cavalries that were all stunned, Ardis had a not so welcoming smile as he warned.
「Still up for more? I will be around if any of you still wish to go. 」
With countless swords flying in the air showing their dominance, the enemy cavalries were showing faces as if they witnessed a demon. Eventually, the death of their commander was spread, and the enemy lost their will to continue and retreated.
Seeing that their figures had disappeared, Ardis finally had the room to breathe a sigh.
「Fuu. It worked somehow. 」
Keeping Skies of Myriad Colors back in its scabbard, recalling Moon’s Blizzard and Springtime Mist, Ardis turned around and saw the stunned students. The students started muttering things that weren’t especially directed to who.
「W-What……. He won. 」
「He really, that many enemies, by himself……」
「It can’t be real……. What is he……」
After all, the scenery that was engraved in their eyes are too unreal that it’s unbelievable. The messenger soldier lost his voice, even Kyrill who should be the person here who understands Ardis’s ability most had a strange expression on his face without saying anything.
「Alright then, we should move now before we encounter more enemies. 」
Without regards to what they were thinking, Ardis gave out his next instructions with a tone that didn’t suggest the intense battle that happened just a few moments ago.