Translator: Saitama-sensei Editor:Ryunakama
55. New Semester and First-Year War 
The moment Ria manifested〈Fafnir〉and was ready for battle.
In order to close the distance with her, I started running.
(Ria has a wide range of long-range attacks using black flame and white flame. It’s simply suicide to engage her in a long-distance battle…)
However, she might have been anticipating it.
「Too naive, Allen! Draconic Roar!」
Ria immediately swung her sword and spread a mixture of black and white flames.
A non-regular ranged attack covered the stage.
I jumped back at once and brushed off the sparks that fell onto me.
Jet-black flames swooped down on me.
「First Sword – Flying Shadow!」
In response to the looming black flame, I greeted it with my prided Flying Shadow.
The shadow that I shot was drowned out by the black flame in an instant.
(Damn, the output is in a different league from last time…)
I jumped wide to the side and avoided the Black Breath.
(If I try to get close, indiscriminate ranged attack. If I take a distance, long-range attack with black flames… It’s a really troublesome ability after all…)
Her way of fighting is very similar to Claude-san.
(Maybe they underwent the same training in Vesteria Kingdom…)
While thinking about that, Ria observed every movement I made, and didn’t show even the slightest opening.
The carelessness and pride that was visible in the previous battle, have completely disappeared.
「…I never thought you could tear down Flying Shadow. I’m amazed, Ria.」
「Fufu, are you surprised? But, this isn’t even the extent of my powers…!」
When she swung her sword, blazing black flames rushed towards me again.
After that, I was forced into a one-sided defensive battle.
「Eat this – Black Burst!」
Ria swung down her sword with all her strength from an overhead position.
A large mass of black flame was released, which was about two times bigger than Black Breath.
The next moment, when I quickly jumped to the right and tried to avoid it,
The mass of black flame exploded, and a large amount of fist-sized flames scattered in all directions.
「…!? Eighth Sword – Yatagarasu!」
I spread a barrier of slashes right away, but…
With just eight slashes, it was impossible to shake off more than a hundred flames.
One of the scattered black flames attacked my right leg, and burning pain ran through it.
「Dammit… First Sword – Flying Shadow!」
I shot a flying slash as a minimal counterattack.
Ria’s white flame formed a coil-like large shield, and blocked Flying Shadow very easily.
In response, Ria unleashed the wave-like black flames as a counter.
(This is bad… Little by little, the damage is surely accumulating…)
As evidence of this, the movement of my body gradually became dull.
(If the match continues to drag on like this, I’ll be at a disadvantage…)
If I can’t find a way to reach her, the match will gradually get worse and I’ll lose.
This overwhelmingly disadvantageous situation. Having understood it perfectly, I heaved a loud sigh.
(Haa… The fact that I can’t use a soul dress is fatal as a swordsman…)
The increasing number of fights with soul dress users has made me realize that fact.
(…No, save the complaints for after the match ends.)
I switched my mind set and strengthened my resolve.
(… I’ll be fine)
This body endured the big explosions of Claude-san’s〈Avio Troop〉.
It will surely endure Ria’s powerful flames.
Endure the pain that will surely come in a few seconds!
With my resolve strengthened, I instantly started running.
「So you’re finally coming…! Draconic Roar!」
The flames mixed in black and white divided me and Ria.
(Don’t fret…! The pain is only momentary… If I break through this flame wall… I will have a winning chance…!)
Brilliantly blazing, scorching flames – I dived right into the heart of it.
The violent flames burned my body, and a sharp pain ran through me.
Hot, painful, agonizing, but – not unbearable…!
The moment I overcame the stinging pain and managed to break through the wall of fire.
「Just as I expected. I knew you would break through that flame wall valiantly.」
Ria, waiting at the end of the wall, had already swung her sword high.
Apparently… She seems to have read my pattern.
「High King Style – Strong Strike!」
I defended the imminent downward slash by standing ready with my sword positioned horizontally.
A tremendous impact ran through my body. And the moment I thought I managed to defend it,
A tremendous amount of fire jetted from the back of Ria’s sword.
It granted explosive propulsion to her downward slash, and
I couldn’t bear that tremendous power and was blown away.
For the last four months, I’ve been training to death.
I’ve overcome many fierce battles. Always doing the very best with all my effort.
However, the growth of〈Fafnir〉far exceeded mine.
Ria didn’t miss this opportunity where my posture was greatly broken and,
Ria went on the offensive at once.
「High King Style – Consecutive Spears!」
An explosive thrust of black flame was unleashed repeatedly.
By dodging, parrying, and blowing off – I somehow survived through the consecutive attacks.
I was honestly impressed by the stormy onslaught.
(Ria… you’re truly amazing.)
She had an overwhelming talent for swordsmanship, had the soul dress〈Fafnir〉, and worked hard earnestly every single day.
I know it best because I swung the sword together with her in the Practice-Swing Club.
「High King Style – Strong Strike!」
She, once again, unleashed a strong downward slash.
And in response, I met her attack with a diagonal slash containing my whole body weight.
The swords clashed violently with each other, and today is the second time we are locking swords.
(… She’s what we call a『genius who makes an effort.』)
For someone like me… For an ordinary man who desperately tries to bridge the gap in talent with effort, she is like a natural enemy.
「Allen, I’m sorry, but this match is – my victory!」
From the back of Ria’s sword, flames jetted out with tremendous momentum.
With explosive propulsion, her sword bore down on me mercilessly.
(Damn… I want to win…)
I know better than anyone else that I am a talentless ordinary person.
Even so… I want to win against Ria.
I want to beat her genius swordsmanship.
I want to win against a genius who makes an effort.
(I want to win against the『talent』that has always stood in my way…!)
At that moment, unprecedented enormous power overflowed from the depth of my body.
Her sword, boosted by〈Fafnir〉, was pushed back by my simple physical strength.
For the first time in this match, I overcame Ria in a contest of strength.
(What… is this…)
It felt like the power that was sealed in the depths of my body was seething up. It felt strange and nostalgic for some reason.
I’ve had this kind of experience several times before, but… This time, it feels completely different…
(…I can do it!)
And when I was staring at my palm,
「… A-Are you…『Allen』?」
As Ria said so, she held her sword in front of her chest.
As her sword blade acted as a mirror – I saw a white-haired head and a black pattern emerged under my left eye in the reflection.
「Aa… my appearance seems to be a little different, but it’s definitely me.」
That guy didn’t take over.
This body is now properly controlled by me.
「Did you perhaps… control the power of the spirit core?」
「…No, not yet.」
It’s true that this tremendous power fills my whole body, but…
(…Still, there is a realm of difference in power between me and that guy.)
Now that I’m stronger, it became much clearer.
It seems that the road to attaining soul dress is still far off.
(This time… It’s probably his whim or something…)
The next time we meet, I should probably give that guy a word of thanks.
(…Well, let’s concentrate on this battle for now.)
Restore the derailed thoughts.
(Anyway, this has closed the difference in physical strength…!)
Surely, I wouldn’t lose one-sidedly in terms of strength anymore.
(From here on out, it will be my swordsmanship and Ria’s〈Fafnir〉. It’s the match to decide which is better…)
I lowered my center of gravity and assumed Seigan no Kamae.
「Here I come… Ria!」
「Yeah, I wouldn’t have it any other way… Allen!」
The finals between me and Ria, entered the final phase.