(TL note: After checking it out, it seems that Jeff Molton’s first name was originally indeed intended to be Zephyr. Therefore, I’ve changed his name, even though he doesn’t appear in this chapter.)
I held the tip of my rapier horizontally, pointed at the throat of the general commander’s grandson Sieghart. Although normally wider swords should be used in battle, as rapier techniques are mostly ceremonial.
My opponent Sieghart set up an elegant pose with his in front of his body, as someone who will surely enter the Royal Guards knight order in the future, he was probably educated in the finest ceremonial rapier techniques there are.
“Please go ahead.”
Since rapiers are light short swords, it’s a high-speed duel. Even though Sieghart said that he’ll begin attacking, he took his time in testing my defense for openings, without going for direct attacks.
No matter how light it is, you need to have adequate muscle strength in order to maintain the proper sword stances. If we keep dueling defensively, I’ll be at a disadvantage due to my limitations in stamina. Taking that into consideration, I began my offensive.
I purposely crossed swords with him, and managed to avoid being hit by his next slash, using the momentum from our swords clashing to jump back. Clang, while our swords weren’t broken, there was a grating sound in the air while I almost lost hold of my sword from the impact, having to pull on the edge of my coat to find my balance again, as I put distance between us and fixed my combat stance.
……As expected of the foremost military family in this country. There are no flaws in his defense whatsoever. It’s quite evident that he’s extremely skilled in handling his sword.
“Beautiful moves, Rolentsor.”
“It’s all thanks to countless hours of practicing!”
Turning on one foot, I avoided his sword which instantly came at me again, and blocked his attack with my sword. Originally in ceremonial swordplay, once you trade blows you’re supposed to draw back, but – reflexively, I stepped forward into his bosom.
Screech, a high-pitched metallic sound was ringing. Even though Sieghart obviously had more muscle strength than me, I was pushing back his rapier with my own. I had the advantage in positioning, and he was forced just slightly off balance.
I increased the speed of my movements even more, and I stomped down diagonally – aiming straight for his feet.
There was a pleasant sound as my foot connected against his, and the general commander’s grandson fell face forward onto the thick mat. Just as I was about to reflexively attack his wide-open back with my sword as he poised both his hands to break his fall, the instructor shouted “that’s enough!” at that moment.
I threw down my sword, then I finally remembered that this was only supposed to be a practice duel, which caused me to really want to clench my head.
-This is bad. I’ve gone completely overboard. Unconsciously, I moved according to the familiar movements of my training, but I shouldn’t have done that here.
Sieghart seemed to be terribly confused as he dazedly looked at me. “Are you alright,” I asked him. While he didn’t shake his head, his head was bleeding slightly from what I did to him. Still, I kept asking him if he could stand up, while he just remained sitting there in his daze, and I just repeated my question over and over while hurriedly extending my hand to him, and he finally took my hand and pulled himself up.
“Sorry, I…… are you hurt?”
“No, I’m fine……”
The general commander’s grandson who was just slightly taller than me kept looking at me with a confused expression. I think he was about to say something, just when he opened his mouth, the instructor called out my name, with an “Earl Kaldia!”
“Ahh, Earl Kaldia. What was that, that underhanded swordsmanship?”
Listening to the instructor’s shocked reaction, I reflected on my actions that this was just as I expected. The training ground for the practice duel suddenly became abuzz with commotion when it was completely silent during our duel.
“Swordsmanship is something that’s supposed to be elegant, beautiful, fair, and clean. It’s inconceivable that you, a noble, would use such a tactic suited for commoner soldiers!”
This time was my fault. Normally I hold back when swinging my sword around. ……The general commander’s grandson was too strong, I wasn’t able to help myself because he was the first one I couldn’t win against unless I used my full abilities.
This mock duel between Sieghart and I, was originally intended by the instructor to be a demonstration of ceremonial swordplay, in order to teach the other students that hadn’t learned it before.
If I win using tactics that aren’t a part of ceremonial swordsmanship, then it won’t be an example for the other students. Because my opponent only used ceremonial swordsmanship, I’m the one who broke a rule here. It’s completely considered my fault.
“-Humph. As expected, cowardly methods befit the cold-blooded earl famous for killing unarmed enemies without even flinching. Doing such an ugly thing, winning with no pride or honor at all. Just like a low-class commoner.”
Eric’s voice instantly came ridiculing me from the side, when right after his rant Sieghart roared at him. “ERIC!!” Sieghart is someone who’s talented enough to know that my combat style is necessary on the battlefield, so he’s probably defending me because of it.
“Eric, I can’t let this insult pass. Take your words back right now!”
“Oh, um, Rolentsor, wait a moment. It was my bad just now…… Please calm down.”
He tried convincing Sieghart in a subdued voice. I suppose this situation is bad for him. For someone who will likely be the future general commander by the crown prince’s side to be seen shouting angrily at Eric like this in class, it will cause rumors.
“But, your words just now were an insult to every soldier on the battlefield. It’s unforgiveable.”
“Even so, what he says is true. I used a style that wasn’t appropriate for this place, my earlier sword technique was indeed learned from commoners. It doesn’t change the fact that I used an underhanded technique during the duel. My apologies.”
I whispered that to Seighart so only he could hear it, but it was obvious for anyone that Eric had been ridiculing me. The commotion in class kept increasing in volume, to the point where the noble instructor was shouting “quiet!”
The crown prince and Grays just happened to not be here today due to official business, normally they would be able to help contain the commotion.
……Ahh, this is terrible. For Eric who was trying to “preserve honor in duels” to get shouted at by his friend Sieghart like that, his pride will greatly suffer. And now, nobody’s here who can help calm him down.
“……What are you talking about, Sieg! It’s because of dirty tactics, that you always lose!”
Sure enough, when Eric’s temper flared up and he started shouting angrily back at Sieghart, I involuntarily leaned my head back and stared at the ceiling. I already knew that trying to reason with children was an impossible task, and that it would only lead to loud arguments – this is something I know from experience.
Now I heard Sieghart’s low voice filled with anger. I kept scolding myself mentally for my major blunder in not holding back being the cause of this gigantic mess.