Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
Deep within the Great Canada Forest stood one of the many elf villages that dotted the forest, Raratoia.
This forest was home to a great number of monsters due to the abundant amount of mana in the area, so a unique wall had been erected around the village.
The majority of the wall’s surface was covered by a myriad of thorns, that even wrapped around its support pillars. Only the lack of gaps in the structure revealed that it was artificially made.
The wall itself was over thirty meters tall and separated the quiet village from the dangerous forest it was built in.
Directly inside the wall was a field of crops and a wide, open pasture for the cattle to graze on. Wooden houses dotted the area beyond those places.
However, these houses were strangely shaped mushrooms. Each house had a slightly exposed wooden deck, eaves that stretched to the top and a unique pattern was carved into the supporting pillars of the houses, allowing a glimpse of elven culture.
The sidewalks were made of beautifully laid cobblestone and street lights were placed at regular intervals
In the center of this idyllic village stood a towering tree that was somehow merged with a large mansion. It served as the home of the elder.
Beneath the tree’s branches, the huge trunk started to become a mixture between the natural and the artificial.
The clear glass windows cut into the trunk that allowed daylight to enter the building, the singing birds that nested in the tree and the natural sunlight that filtered through the branches contributed to the area’s fantastic atmosphere.
In the front yard of the elder’s mansion, two people were facing off against each other with wooden swords in hand. Two other people were breathlessly watching them from the side.
The young woman in front of me, holding a wooden sword, took a fighting stance.
The woman was a bewitching beauty, what with her voluptuous body, lilac skin and snow white braided hair. Her inhuman golden eyes were focused directly on me and she calmly stood still as if she were full of openings.
However, the slight twitches of her long, pointed ears showed me that she was completely focused on every move I made.
The name of the women dressed in traditional elven attire, which was embroidered with an elaborate pattern, was Glenys Aruna Raratoia.
She was the village elder’s wife and one of the rare dark elves on this continent.
I, on the other hand, had the appearance of an over two meters tall, fully armored knight.
This was the body of a game avatar that I used to play as under the name of Arc and I looked liked this ever since I had been thrown into this world.
Underneath my black mantle was a set of full body armor fitting for a mythical knight; fine details had been etched into every piece, along with white and blue undertones.
A jet black mantle, that was inlaid with a pattern seemingly cut from the starry night sky, hung off my shoulders.
The sword and shield I normally carried on my person were replaced with the wooden sword I was currently holding.
There was a distance of three meters between Glenys and l, and we were currently sizing each other up.
Honestly, even with the abilities of this max-level body, I doubted that I could win a contest of pure swordsmanship against an elf who has had centuries of training.
Since we couldn’t keep staring at each other forever, I lifted my wooden sword and charged at Glenys. Thanks to my abnormally high physical ability I was moving rather quickly, yet she had somehow read my movements.
My swing missed by a wide margin as she easily evaded my attack. Just as I tried to strike at the seemingly slow-moving Glenys again, I was struck on the back of my sword hand.
I didn’t actually feel anything because I was protected by the mythical grade 『Holy Armor of Belenus』, but I unintentionally let out an “Ouch.” when I heard the metallic clink from the hit.
“Your movements are so monotonous, Arc-kun. When you advance, you don’t attack, and when you attack, you don’t move.”
When I raised my sword against Glenys again, she simply nodded in reply as I tried to visualize her sword swings in my mind.
However, someone with no prior training couldn’t learn swordplay overnight, so Glenys managed to dodge every one of my attacks no matter how fired up I became, before she effortlessly swatted my sword hand again.
Glenys raised an eyebrow and sighed before she offered a suggestion.
“Would you like to dodge my attacks this time?”
The moment after I replied, Glenys calmly blindsided me with an array of overwhelming attacks. This body’s kinetic vision and reflexes allowed me to dodge, but Glenys’ sword had become a flurry of strikes and if I stopped moving for even a second, she would finish me off.
I continued to back-pedal as I dodged but before long I ran up against the tree and was swiftly hit on my gauntlet and head.
I was stunned for a moment as the sound of multiple cymbals entered my ears and Glenys’ smiling face entered my line of sight.
“It’s my win?”
Glenys started to laugh after she declared her victory.
I thought I would’ve been better at defending myself, but the results couldn’t be denied. Despite these deplorable results I held up my index finger and proposed a rematch.
“Nuu…… Glenys-dono, one more round.”
“Are you sure?”
Glenys held her wooden sword over her shoulder when she asked if I wanted to continue. After that, the scene of me being struck in the head was repeated over and over again.
At one point I broke down and growled in frustration at my lack of improvement while waving my wooden sword back and forth.
The reason we were doing mock battles like this was because my next destination laid in a very dangerous area and I wanted to test my abilities against someone who had actual combat experience.
“Arc-kun, because you react to movement instinctively, it’s rather easy for your opponents to read your movements. Because you don’t read the flow of the battle, you leave yourself open to surprise attacks. You appear to be a knight, so shouldn’t you take pride in your swordsmanship?”
Glenys didn’t even seem tired when she gave her review of my skills.
According to her, true swordsmanship was a complex dance of reading your opponent’s movements as you attacked, and my reliance on my physical ability alone was basically suicidal.
Unless I want my sword to be nothing more that a useless treasure, I needed to improve myself from now on.
While I was busy contemplating my decision, someone else decided to speak up.
“Mother, Arc’s movements may be straightforward but do you think there are a lot of other people capable of reading them?”
The person who raised that question as she approached our location was a female dark elf with features similar to Glenys’.
Her womanly charms were only accentuated by the long-sleeved dress with a hem of modest length and the leather corset she wore.
Her long, snow white hair was tied in a loose ponytail that allowed it to be blown about by the wind and her golden eyes were focused on me.
She was Glenys’ daughter Ariane Glenys Maple.
The majority of the elves lived in the Great Canada Forest and on top of her being Glenys’ daughter, she was also a warrior of the Forest capital Maple.
We met under unusual circumstances and our friendship had the opportunity to deepen during our mission to rescue kidnapped elves. Thanks to my participation in that mission I was allowed to stay in this village despite being human.
“Well…… I suppose only a few people can keep up with Arc’s movements and your enemies are gonna be monsters, right?”
Glenys tapped her chin with her finger and maintained her smile as she took Ariane’s comment into consideration.
“Arc, lend me your sword.”
Holding out her right hand after she said so, Ariane wanted me to give her my wooden sword so I handed it to her without any complaints.
“It’s been a while since we sparred, mother.”
“Yes, it’s been a while, hasn’t it.”
Both mother and daughter laughed a little as they took some distance from each other.
Though I called them mother and daughter, the two looked close enough in age to be considered sisters. It was hard to judge the age of people with four hundred year long lifespans by appearances alone.
Ariane shouted a battle cry as she charged with her wooden sword raised. Glenys dodged the attack by taking a small step back, placing her out of the range of Ariane’s sword swing. The moment after she dodged Ariane’s attack, Glenys raised her own sword and launched a fierce counterattack.
After evading Glenys’ attacks with movements similar to her mother’s, Ariane kicked the ground to leap back in order to widen the distance.
“Well, it appears you’ve been influenced by your sister’s bad footwork.”
Glenys chuckled a bit when she saw the way Ariane leaped back.
Their movements were totally different from my own, they appeared to be engaged in a lethal blade dance that was a spectacle to watch.
It was something I couldn’t hope to replicate in this full body armor, and I began to wonder if it was a smart move to study swordplay under Glenys.
I’d be more suited towards a style that took advantage of my overwhelming strength. While I was fine dealing with criminals and monsters, I was incapable of holding back against regular people.
When I had the chance, it would be a good idea to ask Ariane for some basic sword lessons, but at the moment Ariane and Glenys’ bout had come to an end
Ariane’s wooden sword was sent flying into the air and landed right in front of me.
Ariane was drenched in sweat as she slouched over her knees gasping for air, while Glenys was standing tall with the same smile on her face. Even my untrained eye could tell that Ariane was an extremely capable swordswoman, yet Glenys’ superior abilities were truly impressive. No, astonishing would be a better description.
“Hmm, though your skills have improved, you still have room to grow.”
“Hey! I would like to try as well……”
The scene of a mother smiling down at her daughter and said daughter vexingly looking up to her mother was interrupted by the other person that had watched the bout calling out to them.
Glenys turned toward the source of the exclamation.
“Oh? Chiome-chan, would you like to spar with me too?”
“By all means, please instruct me.”
The girl Glenys called Chiome gave a slightly formal response as she stood up and asked for instruction.
She had short-cut, raven black hair and her blue eyes were staring straight at Glenys. Her small frame was adorned in black clothes that were easy to move in, arm and leg guards and a dagger that was strapped to her waist.
On top of her head was a pair of black, triangular cat ears and a long black tail was coiled around her waist.
She was a person of the Mountains and Plains, another race that lived in seclusion to escape persecution from humans. She was a part of the “Blade Heart Clan”, an armed group of People of the Mountains and Plains that fought the slavery and forced labor their kind endured.
About six hundred years ago, their clan had been formed by someone in a situation similar to mine. That person had gathered the persecuted people and taught them the ways of ninjutsu. Among this clan, Chiome stood as one of the six strongest ninjas.
When Glenys agreed, Chiome switched places with Ariane. The only weapon Chiome had were the gauntlets on her arms.
Several seconds passed as the two silently stared at each other.
Glenys behavior was completely different from before. Chiome bent down on all fours and performed a charge that was even faster than Ariane’s had been. When Glenys dodged the attack, Chiome quickly regained her balance and released a flurry of attacks.
Those nimble movements were to be expected for someone with cat-like attributes. However, Glenys managed to repel the cascade of hands and feet and showed her usual smile as she began her counterattack.
The two switched between offense and defense for a while, but after Glenys landed a solid blow on the back of Chiome’s ankle, she began to push Chiome back, leaving her without much room to breathe, and soon the tip of Glenys’ sword was held against the ninja’s neck.
When Chiome admitted defeat, Glenys removed her wooden sword from her throat.
“That was very good, Chiome-chan. I’d say your martial arts skills are superior to my oldest daughter’s. I’m afraid your attacks are too light because of your small body, but you’re still in the middle of your growth period, so that is bound to improve.”
“Th-thank you very much.”
At Glenys’ brief comment, the usually expressionless Chiome looked as if she were about to smile before she lowered her head.
Glenys’ smile widened as she looked at that scene before she clapped her hands and turned toward me.
“Well, let’s end practice here, grab some breakfast and prepare you for your trip!”
“Yes” “Um, understood.”
When I and Ariane stood up after answering Glenys, Ponta, who’d been idly playing near the mansion until now, ran towards us when she heard the word “Breakfast”.
She was a creature commonly referred to as a fluffy fox. Her dandelion-like tail made up half of her sixty-centimeter long body. Despite her fox-like head, there were patches between her forelegs and hind legs that were similar to the legs of a flying squirrel.
The fur on her back and head was light green, while her underbelly was covered in white colored fur that also appeared in the center of her tail.
She was a rare kind of animal that was capable of using magic, the type which the elves have dubbed spirit beasts.
According to Ariane and Chiome, spirit beasts were supposed to be wary creatures, yet there was no sign of that wariness in Ponta once she heard about breakfast.
Ponta focused her wind magic under her feet and began running on air. It looked like she was trying to reach her favorite spot on top of my helmet, but Ariane stepped forward and caught her.
“You wanna to eat too, Ponta?”
When Ariane petted her head and asked her that question in a soft voice, Ponta looked between me and her before letting out an excited cry and burying herself in Ariane’s voluptuous chest.
I was left sitting there, having been defeated by the temptation of breakfast……