Translator: Saitama-sensei Editor:Ryunakama
44. Vesteria Kingdom and Elite Guard 
I defeated Galius-san in the first match – now in the following second match.
「Eighth Sword – Yatagarasu!」
Just three seconds right after the match started, I floored my second opponent at lightning speed
「Romeldo-Gora unable to continue! Winner, Allen-Rodore!」
When the commentator declared the results, the Great Arena was enveloped in an unsettled atmosphere.
「O-OiOi… Isn’t that guy… too strong!?」
「He is fast… and strong…」
「If we lose the next match… then it would mean our defeat, right…?」
As if to fan the flames, the commentator declared exaggeratedly.
「The famous swordsmen of Vesteria castle lost two matches in a row!? Allen-Rodore, a foreign swordsman shrouded in mystery! Just who is this man!?」
I was staring at my palm while such an atmosphere loomed.
(Mysterious power surges through me… With this, I can definitely do it…)
「Now! Today’s special match is finally here – the third match! The last person is…! The captain of Her Highness Princess Ria’s exclusive elite guards! Claude-Stroganoff!」
As soon as the announcement was over, Claude-san appeared from the east gate in front.
「Please! Please! You’re the only one we can count on…!」
「Please bury the blasted Allen-Rodore…!」
This is the most excited the audience has been today.
As expected, the Captain of the Elite Guard is very popular.
「You pervert worm… I never expected you to make it this far…」
「…So you were the final opponent, Claude-san.」
「Fuun. Be prepared, I’ll make you pay for last night…!」
Saying that, she drew out her sword even though the match start hasn’t been declared.
Combined with yesterday’s incident, she seems to be super motivated.
「Then, from here on! We will start the last match today! Are both participants ready!? Then – Start!」
At the same time as the start signal.
「High King Style – Strong Strike!」
Claude-san closed the distance with me in an instant and brought down a downwards slash from overhead.
(As expected, she started with this move…)
I had predicted this move from her aggressive personality and,
I intercepted the slash with an Iai-slash gaining enough acceleration when drawing my sword from the sheath.
Our swords collide violently, and sparks flew.
「You worm… What a ridiculous strength…!?」
As I pushed back our locked swords and took control of the fight by breaking her posture, I stepped in half a step forward to set up a follow-up attack.
「Don’t underestimate me!」
She turned around in a flowing motion without any wasted movement and performed a sharp side sweep.
I, who was in a forward-bent posture, stepped back right away and evaded the sweep.
The flow from one technique to another was superb.
It seems that Claude-san’s defense cannot be broken with a slight『break』like just now.
「Tch, that’s a futile good reaction…」
「I can say the same for Claude-san. That was a superb body movement.」
After that, we continued to exchange furious sword blows.
Her sword was faithful to the basics.
Whether it’s the downwards slash she performed earlier or the side sweep – each one was an exemplary of the basics. It was a beautiful, polished sword.
「High King Style – Destruction!」
There was a definitive strength in her delicateness and preciseness.
This sharpened swordsmanship must have been acquired at the end of a harsh relentless training.
There was a big difference in our physical abilities.
(I can do it… As I am right now, I can overcome her with strength…!)
(This guy, how is he so strong…!? Is this really the same person…!?)
Physical strength is the basis of all swordsmanship.
If the skills are almost equal, then a simple difference in physical strength means everything.
The diagonal slash I unleashed,
Claude-san, pushed by that power, was blown far behind.
「…You pervert worm」
Even when rolling across the ground, she performed ukemi and completely killed the impact.
Soon after that, she got up and held her sword into position – but I do not miss this huge opportunity.
「First Sword – Flying Shadow!」
As a follow-up attack, I shot Flying Shadow that is unilaterally fired from a long distance.
「A flying slash…!? High King Style – Strong Strike!」
She managed to counteract the impending slash but – it was just a feint.
「I’m behind you.」
I used Flying Shadow as a front and moved behind Claude-san.
「Sakura Blossom One-Sword Style Secret Technique – Mirrored Sakura Slash!」
Like a mirror match, four slashes from left and right each – eight slashes assailed her.
She shot down five of the eight slashes with an astounding reaction speed and sword speed, but…
It was not possible to cut down every slash from that posture, and the remaining three slashes struck her right shoulder, abdomen, and thighs.
All three cuts were shallow.
She gave up on cutting down the three slashes at the last minute, and twisted her body to avoid a deep wound.
Claude-san jumped far back and distanced herself.
Blood seemed to rush to her head for a moment, but she took a deep breath and regained her composure.
「…It’s frustrating to admit, but you’re not just a crook with a mouth.」
She grumbled with a really sour look on her face.
「…I am not really a crook in the first place.」
I corrected her, but… I don’t think it will have much effect.
「It is no exaggeration to say that you as a human being are the worst pervert worm -『the enemy of all women』. But, the『Swordsman』called Allen-Rodore – is deserving of respect.」
Am I being praised or being slandered? …I honestly don’t know.
「It is that much more disappointing… Allen. You don’t have『talent』. To the point of being hopeless even.」
Claude-san declared as such.
「…You’re pretty blunt.」
I know best that I don’t have the talent for swordsmanship.
However, when it is said directly to my face… It’s a bit tough, after all.
「It’s unfortunate, but that’s the truth. -I have been leading the Elite Guard since I was ten years old, and the number of swordsmen that I have taught so far is slightly over 50,000. That’s why I have confidence in my eyes that can see through the talent of a swordsman. -I assure you, it’s impossible for you to attain soul dress.」
She said as though delivering the final blow.
「It is true that your『effort』is amazing. Despite being untalented, your body has been trained to the limit, and you are able to match someone like me in swordsmanship, surpassing me even. You probably endured hellish training for a dozen years or so. The mental power that deviates from that common sense – it can only be called『monster』」
To be precise, it’s over a billion years… Well, that’s fine.
「But, you’re never going to be a great swordsman.」
Claude-san continued in a matter-of-fact tone.
「The ability of a swordsman depends largely on the power of the soul. This is the common sense in this world.」
「…Yes, I certainly do know of it.」
「You, who can’t attain soul dress will probably have to keep putting in effort until you die. It’s an agonizing road full of strife, but… I’m sure you will carry through with it. However, at the end of the road, there will be『nothing』. Even if you wage a lifetime, you would just be waiting for the hopeless reality of『I couldn’t attain soul dress 』.」
「…You could say that.」
Only a handful of excellent swordsmen can manifest their soul dress.
And I’m… surely not in that handful.
「If you’re going to walk down that hell, then let me eradicate your sword sooner.」
Saying so, she pushed her right hand forward.
「Breathe -〈Avio Troop〉!」
At that moment, a sword appeared from the empty space.
The blade of the sword was so long, it could even be called a halberd.
「Aa, this is『talent』」
She answered briefly, and slashed the cobblestone of the stage three times quickly.
Then, three emblems that emitted a pale light appeared there.
At that moment, a part of the cobblestone made a crackling noise and changed form.
The stones which were about the size of a clenched fist, turned into a swallow and a crow.
The stone that was as big as a sake barrel, transformed into an owl.
They chirped as if they were alive, and flew around her freely.
「Is this… a manipulation-type ability…?」
「Fufu, I wonder? I’m not naive enough to tell you my abilities.」
Then, Claude-san pointed the tip of the long sword towards me.
「Here I come – Allen-Rodore!」
The real thing starts from here on.
This is the final battle…!