It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (64/96), enjoy~
The following day, Ain was at the knight training facility. Finding Lloyd ahead of him, Ain ran up next to him.
“Hello, Ain-sama. It’s rare to see you here.”
“Good morning. Can I join you again today?”
“Of course you can, but isn’t it almost time for school?”
“I’ve got some business to attend to, so I’ve decided to take the day off.”
“Oh, I see… So that’s how it is.”
Lloyd was reminded of the scene in the audience room last night. He felt that Ain was trying to move forward, so he made a suggestion.
“If you’d like, I can be your opponent. With Ain-sama’s recent remarkable growth, the royal knight would no longer be a match for you.”
Just as Ain had decided on Lloyd as his opponent, Dill arrived.
“Why, Ain-sama. Good morning.”
“Good morning, Dill. Actually, I’m about to have Lloyd-san as my opponent. I just wanted to exercise. I’m sorry, but can I borrow Lloyd-san?”
“Sure… of course. If you don’t mind working with such a father, please feel free.”
He seemed unhappy to be called such a father, but Lloyd suppressed his feelings before Ain.
While disapproving a little, he found a wooden sword for training.
“Ain-sama. What would you like to use for your sword?”
“I’ll use this one for today.”
Lloyd showed Ain some of the swords, and Ain picked up one of them.
It’s a longsword, just like Ain’s new partner. It was certainly not the same as the black sword that Mouton had made, but he chose one that was similar to it.
“It’s a little hard to take on Lloyd-san right off the bat, so let me try a couple of different opponents first, okay?”
“Of course. …Actually, I’ve been having a hard time dealing with Ain-sama lately so I’ve been working out as well.”
“What are you talking about? You’ve never shown any sign of it.”
After seeing off the back of the Ain running with a smile, Lloyd said to Dill with a mysterious look on his face.
“…Dill. You’ll have to deal with me.”
“Yes? It’s not a problem, but what’s wrong with you all of a sudden?”
“If I don’t keep up my high-quality training, I might get hurt.”
“You’re afraid that you will get hurt by Ain-sama?”
That would be a big problem. Dill thought about this and hurried to get ready.
” …So that I wouldn’t get hurt. Somehow, today’s Ain-sama looks like a different person, as if something has possessed him.”
Dill, who was getting ready, did not hear Lloyd’s voice.
A few tens of minutes later, the two of them were in the center of the training facility.
“We’re going to have the usual one-on-one match. Are you ready?”
“No problem, I’m ready.”
The winner is the one who hits the armor. Attacking any other part of the body is prohibited.
“Dill. You will be the referee.”
“Yes, I understand.”
While listening to the voice, Ain was surrendering to a certain sense of versatility. His body felt lighter than usual.
Even the mock battles against the royal knights were won as smoothly as breathing. It was so overwhelming that the knights were surprised and doubted their own skill.
“Hmm… Eh? I can’t see Ain-sama.”
Ain should be in front of him. And yet, he felt a sense of discomfort.
“I need to find out what this discomfort is.”
Lloyd raises his arm as he starts to walk away.
Soon, Dill announced the start of the match.
Ain swung his sword wide, closing the distance to where Lloyd was standing.
“It’s a big swing! There’s nothing to be afraid of then!”
The usual Ain carries out things a little more carefully. He would never take a big swing out of the blue, but rather, he would do things carefully.
But today’s Ain was different; he was bold.
“Even so, you defended it with both hands. That means it wasn’t as light as I thought!”
Hands, feet, shoulders, chest. He changed his attack points several times, unleashing many attacks of different patterns. Even though he was using a longsword, his dexterity with a sword was something that the royal knights admired.
“I can’t believe this! But I don’t like being beaten up all the time!”
“Kuh… It’s heavy!”
There is a big difference between Lloyd and Ain in terms of physique. Perhaps because of the weight difference, Ain can’t catch a big swinging blow like Lloyd did.
Besides, Lloyd’s power is stronger than his.
“Well done for stopping it! But, I’m not done yet!”
Even though Lloyd has a big body, he is fast with his sword. The sound of swords cutting through the air echoed through the training ground, telling of the severity of the attack.
The royal knights could not help but feel uneasy.
“Is that okay…?”
“It seems dangerous indeed… but what can we do?”
Dill, the referee, on the other hand, had a different impression.
“…Ain-sama is on the receiving end. He struggles to deal with all of father’s attacks, but he reacts to all of them.”
The fact that he was reacting to it was shocking, even if it was dangerous at times.
Seeing that, Lloyd lacked the offense.
“You’re amazing, Lloyd-san. You’re so powerful, and I still can’t see the bottom.”
“…It’s harsh to say that considering how you handled it!”
Ain was strangely not out of breath; he just calmly accepted the sword. His gaze was merciless, and it seemed as if Lloyd was no longer there.
“Ain-sama… do you want more than this?”
Suddenly, Lloyd lowered his sword gently. He kept his distance from Ain and looked at him with a slightly worried expression on his face.
“…If I ask, will you show me?”
“Kuku… hahaha! Ain-sama, that’s a tough one! No matter how much you ask…”
“So, Lloyd-san, is it okay if I give you an order?”
The atmosphere in the training facility froze. It was as if the atmosphere had been frozen for hours, and even the air had been chilled.
“‘It’s not like you don’t know what those words mean, is it? Ambition is a good thing. But too much interest can lead to injury.”
His eyes were sharp, and his voice was full of power. Dill noticed that Lloyd had raised his sword and placed it on his shoulder. The sound of Lloyd’s swinging sword, which was delayed for a moment, could be heard.
He wondered if it was filled with more speed than what he could see, and he was transfixed by the phenomenon that his father had caused.
“I thought we should leave it at that for today. But Ain-sama doesn’t seem to have enough practice. I will take care of the last one for you. Please understand that.”
Even Lloyd, who says this, is inwardly fighting a burning passion.
Is the Ain standing in front of him really the Ain he knows? It is clear that he is beginning to peel off his skin mentally. But is that enough to make him look so different from his usual self?
“Yes, one. I’ll give you my full attention, and I’ll take it head-on.”
“…Thank you, Lloyd-san.”
Checking the grip of the sword, again and again, Ain lightly swings the sword.
As he continued with each swing, the sound of the swing changed. The first swing was the usual Ain, and a little sound was added to it on the second swing. By the third swing, it was closer to the sound that Lloyd made during training.
Then, at the fourth swing.
Ain’s pretense left behind the sound.
There was nothing familiar about this phenomenon. Is it possible to grow just by repeating a bare swing, just a few times? Growth? No, this was evolution.
Finally, there was never a fifth time to observe. If there was a fifth time, what kind of territory would it step into? Lloyd’s heart began to race with such excitement that he began to look forward to it.
“Come on, Ain-sama… come whenever you want.”
“Yes, I understand.”
Fresh air is pumped in through his nose and circulated throughout his body. As if each cell began to activate, he felt more blood flowing into his arms.
“Please, enjoy yourself.”
Ain held the sword in his right hand and lowered it diagonally as if to relax. He then took a slow step, as if stepping on the ground… Ain gradually came towards Lloyd.
Gradually, the sword in his hand began to point upward, and he moved to swing down on the being ahead of him. It was a slow and relaxed movement, with a unique rhythm and a sense of effortlessness that seemed to have no unnecessary force.
The last few steps, however, were blindingly fast.
Lloyd was able to follow it with his eyes, but he couldn’t help but be momentarily taken aback. As Ain began to swing his sword, he lowered his center of gravity and assumed a defensive posture.
The sight of Ain’s figure was a movement that Dill had a sense of déjà vu about.
He remembered the time when they returned from Euro at the last minute. The wood-carved figurine of the Red Fox, and Dullahan’s swing in response to it, looked exactly the same as it did at that time.
The sword finally swung down, shaking the defense of Lloyd, who was standing directly in front of it.
It was a head-on collision, but the impact was as if something exploded around Ain.
After a moment, a loud noise went out to the area… as if metal was being torn apart. It was a shocking sound.
Underneath his clothes, Lloyd struggled to hold on firmly, with many veins bulging out in his lower body. He stretched his strength from the soles of his feet, through his shins and knees, to his thighs.
He borrowed the power of the ground, and the strength he had developed became the strength of his muscles.
But it didn’t matter.
The strength of his muscles was easily surpassed , and because of Ain’s power, Lloyd was retreating. After a pause of a few seconds, the impact came to an end.
“…I guess that’s all I can do now. I’m also sorry, I broke the training sword.”
The sword didn’t appear to be broken. But as soon as Ain lowered it to the ground, it shattered into tiny pieces.
“I’m sorry, but can I ask you to clean up? I’ve got some plans with my grandfather later, so I’ve got to get ready and eat as well. I’m sorry for the trouble I’ve caused, but can I leave it to you?”
“Y-yes… of course. But…!”
He wanted Ain to explain to him what had just happened. But Ain has a satisfied look on his face and sweat on his forehead. When he saw Ain, he was afraid to ask any more questions.
“Thanks to you too, Lloyd-san; I feel a little better now.”
“Fufufu… that’s good to hear.”
The sound of Ain’s footsteps leaving the training facility echoed.
Lloyd said with a greasy sweat on his face after he was out of sight.
“I’m sorry, Dill, but I’m going to take a break from work. And I have one more favor to ask of you.”
Lloyd immediately starts to talk about his request. Dill was slightly dismayed by the forcefulness of Lloyd’s appearance.
“I’m sorry, but I need you to take me to Vara-dono… My right shoulder might be broken.”
Dill’s eyes widened in disbelief as he saw Lloyd sweating profusely.