Bonus chapter from sponsored chapter.
Chapter 89 – Sword Saint and the Princess Knight Round 2
[Her Highness simply put into words what’s inside her mind.]
Zion said as he handed a training sword to Liliana.
[Really? I just thought that there is no other way but to do that, right?]
Liliana looked at Ares who stood at the other side of the training ground. Next to him was William trying to apologize for her insolence.
In the middle of Ares discussion with William, Liliana had barged in and requested for a sparring match. Despite William’s complaints, Ares gladly accepted the request.
[I… have never been defeated so badly up until now.]
Not only losing but there was also an overwhelming gap in their skill.
She was reminded then. That there would always be a higher mountain.
[I want to try again once more. And I’ll give it my all. Instead of relying on Alflex, I want to see how my real strength can fare against him.]
Liliana stood up after saying so. Zion looked at her in amazement.
And Liliana resumed.
[If by chance…. I lost again… then that’s the furthest I could go. Maybe I’ll give up on swordsmanship]
Zion was surprised by her exclamation, but Liliana was already walking toward the center of the training ground.
Ares was already waiting there.
[Forgive me for keeping you waiting. Here we go.]
Ares smiled and grasped the training sword.
Liliana stood quietly a little bit further away.
And then… the sparring match began.
That day was the first time Zion got a good look on Ares.
[No way… that much is…]
Beads of sweat flowed down Zion’s cheek.
He knew that Ares won’t treat Liliana harshly. He also thought that it would be a close match, until he saw the match himself.
Liliana had always been a big presence for the people. A symbol of the peak of martial prowess in Redgear.
Liliana with her overwhelming strength would spearhead the Redgear army, regardless whether the enemy was an invading army of another country or magic beasts’ stampede.
Therefore, someone who could defeat Liliana must’ve been an even scarier freak… or so he thought.
However, Ares was different from what he imagined.
Ares was in a relaxed stance, he’s not even raised his sword. However…
[I can’t move… what a powerful pressure…!]
When Zion glanced sideways, he saw Garn’s face was pale. Perhaps both of them had the same impression.
(It’s as if I’m standing before 1000 soldiers…!)
Both Zion and Garn are strong fighters on their own right. But still, they couldn’t move.
Meanwhile Liliana stopped after merely one step. She was desperately trying to endure the pressure.
Her hands trembled. Her breathing became rough.
(I’ll be suppressed if I don’t do anything… I have to act).
Her mind thought so, but her body had a different opinion. Liliana thus took a deep breath.
Raising her voice to alleviate the anxiety and fear, Liliana started to strengthen her body with magic.
Meanwhile Ares did not act; he merely observed the situation.
Suddenly, Liliana rushed at Ares with explosive momentum.
An intense slash rained down on Ares. But he received it calmly.
[I’m not done yet!]
Liliana slashed continuously.
Once, twice, thrice…
The magically enhanced slashes were sharp and heavy. But Ares blocked each one of them with relative ease and calmness.
[Liliana-dono, you swordsmanship is sharp and powerful… but that won’t be enough to defeat me.]
At that moment Ares suddenly dodged Liliana’s slash, tipping the balance of the fight.
[Swordsmanship is not only about harshness. There is also softness in it.]
Ares swung his sword at Liliana whose center of gravity had collapsed.
Liliana couldn’t respond in time, got hit and fell to the ground.
[A balanced combination of both is required for a good swordsman]
Ares continued on while still keeping an eye on Liliana.
[Princess Liliana’s swordsmanship is overwhelming. You have speed, and an even stronger offense after you use magic strengthening… however, that’s nothing but one half of swordsmanship.]
That’s when Ares offered his hand to her.
[Princess Liliana still has room for growth. You can become stronger with enough effort.]
Liliana silently took his hand and got up.
Ares stayed at William’s palace that night. He would be staying for one week. He planned to inspect the land of Redgear during his stay.
That’s why William threw a grand banquet on the first day of Ares’ stay.
[Honestly, you don’t have to make it this grand…]
[No… this is to atone for my sister’s insolence, so please accept it.]
William flatly said that as he bowed his head to Ares.
Ares simply laughed.
[No, please stop. I didn’t feel bothered at all.]
[Now now, let’s end the talk here and enjoy the banquet!]
Ares reached out to the dishes in front of him as he said so.
Seeing the situation, William could only grin as he too took a glass of wine.
Someone was watching that scene from a distance.
[Princess… Princess… Princess Liliana!]
[….!? What? Oh, it’s Zion…]
[….I’ve seen enough.]
[Eh?! Whatever did you mean?]
[…do we have to repeat this talk once more?]
Zion sighed. That asked the question that has been bothering him.
[Princess… do you really want to give up on swordsmanship?]
[Nn? Ah… I did want to give up back then, but I have decided to continue on. Because… Ares-dono said that I still have some room for more growth…]
Liliana’s cheeks were blooming slight red when she said that.
Nn? And right then an ominous thought crossed Zion’s mind.
Zion tried to leave the area, but Liliana called out to him before he did, forcing him to turn around…
Liliana was staring at him intently.
Zion realized that his instinct of danger was right, so he rushed to leave the banquet. But Liliana’s question came before he could leave.
[I wish to participate in brother and Ares-dono’s conversation… but I don’t know how to get in…]
The last part was spoken in a gradually quiet voice.
How should I know!
Zion wanted to scream. He had gone through numerous battlefields, cheated death on many occasions, but never before he experienced this kind of hardship. She should’ve gone to his wife instead. Why a young woman like Liliana choose to consult an old man like him was beyond him.
[…..if it’s Ellie, she would’ve fitted in just fine, wouldn’t she?]
In his confusion Zion unintentionally mentioned his daughter’s name… and right then he realized his fault.
(wait wait… let’s not provoke her into doing funny things again this time…!)
[Ah, Princess, please wait…]
When Zion turned around to explain things… Liliana was no longer there…
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