Translator: Saitama-sensei Editor:Ryunakama
96. Five Great Powers and Thirteen Knights of the Oracle 
I assumed Seigan no Kamae and looked straight at Dodriel.
He pointed the tip of his sword towards me, and put on a complicated smile mixed with love and hate.
(If I remember correctly, that sword is his soul dress…〈Shadow Ruler〉?)
Contrary to its plain appearance, its ability is incomparably powerful.
While stepping on the target’s shadow, it has the formidable power to disable all attacks from that opponent.
(…But I’m sure that’s not all.)
If that was everything, there’s no way Ria and Rose would fall behind.
He must have something more – an unknown power hidden.
(For the time being, avoid close combat, and examine his movement.)
And as I was working out a strategy,
「Ahaa… It’s nice to be staring at each other like this, but… Let’s clash with each other strongly and more and more and more violently!」
Dodriel closed the distance at once, saying something incomprehensible.
「Rain Style – Summer Rain!」
Rain-like thrusts which doesn’t allow the opponent to catch their breath.
(I can see it!)
Each thrust could be seen clearly as though time itself had stopped.
I avoided the looming blade perfectly with minimal movement, and
「Eighth Sword – Yatagarasu!」
I returned a counterattack with eight slashes.
「Ahaha… That won’t work!」
Dodriel cut off three of the slashes and firmly stepped on my shadow in that gap.
At that moment, the remaining five slashes passed through Dodriel’s body.
「Kuh, the『Shadow World』, huh…」
His body was now in a different world due to the ability of〈Shadow Ruler〉.
When it comes to breaking this, I need to use World Judgement.
(…I’m sure even he is fully aware of that.)
「Ahaa! Of course, I’ll avoid your『World Judgement』!」
Dodriel, who read my thoughts, had an innocent smile plastered on his face.
He was a smart guy since the time at Gran Swordsmanship Academy.
The same technique will not work twice.
「Well then, I’m going to go on and on! Rain Style – Intense Rain!」
Diagonal Slash, Bamboo Split, Upwards Slash, Downwards Slash, Thrust – consecutive attacks overflowing with intent to kill was unleashed in succession.
I avoided those slashes by dodging, parrying, and defending with my sword
「Guh, don’t stop, don’t stop, go faster!」
With all his slashes being defended, Dodriel raised a loud cry and began to cut even more violently.
While defending his attacks, I felt a slightly uneasy feeling.
(…Why does he keep unleashing attacks which have a high number of hits?)
It somewhat… bothered me.
I went to the same swordsmanship academy as Dodriel for three years.
That’s why I know this guy to the basic level.
(He was someone who sought『beauty』in battles…)
It was unlike him to unleash consecutive attacks in succession.
Dodriel got fired up and swung down his sword from an overhead position.
I sidestepped his overhead slash. His defenceless head was right before my reach.
I got you!
「Fifth Sword – World Judg–?!」
Right when I stepped in to unleashed World Judgement.
It wasn’t a smile of madness. Rather a very intelligent smile.
(This is bad!)
I didn’t know what was bad though.
However, a large opening was being flaunted in front of me.
My sixth sense shouted that it was dangerous to exploit this.
When I decided to trust in my intuition and jumped back greatly, a maximum slash was fired from the shadow of my feet.
In response to the slash that rose to the heavens, I tried to avoid it by pulling back greatly. Resulting in a few locks of my hair being cut off. I avoided it by a hair’s breadth.
(T-That was dangerous…)
If I had unleashed World Judgement at that moment, I would be in two parts by now.
「What a pity… Only a little bit more! Ahahahahahahahahahaha!」
He opened his mouth wide and began to laugh holding his belly in his arms.
It seems that the complete devotion to consecutive attacks and the large overhead slash just now, was in preparation for this attack.
「Man, what a failure… Imagining the moment when Allen’s body becomes two… Mou, I can’t contain my happiness!」
Saying that, Dodriel hugged his body with both hands and writhed.
I ignored his provocations and eccentricities and asked a question.
「That attack just now… Did you “launch” the slash?」
Dodriel’s『place where he swung the sword』and『the place where the slash occurred』were completely different.
In other words, he launched the slash to『another place』.
「Correct, super correct answer… It’s a remote slash ability of my〈Shadow Ruler〉!」
「Un! I can launch a slash from『my shadow』to adjoining『other shadows』…Look, just like this–!」
And when Dodriel swung his sword – a sharp slash flew out of my shadow at my feet.
I immediately fired a side-sweep and countered the looming slash.
「It’s a good ability, isn’t it? And look, it’s cloudy today! Clouds have “shadows” too! Right now, this entire place is my domain! It’s like God is supporting me…」he opened his hands wide and said with a big smile.
「…You managed to pull out this much power from your soul dress.」
As expected of a genius swordsman I suppose…
As usual, his talent really is first class.
「…Thank you very much. But I’m not happy to be praised by you… By the way, did you know? The more you walk along the boundary between life and death, the stronger your soul dress becomes-!」Dodriel said, and unleashed a sharp thrust.
「Walking the boundary between life and death… You mean being close to death?」
I responded while dealing with his thrust
「Aa, that’s right! When you are seriously injured and are in a life and death situation, you experience the space between material and non-material! The body and the soul become more closely connected and the soul dress gives off more shine, see!」
「Hee, is that so?」
I kinda had a clue about it.
During the fight with Sid-san and Idol-san, I suffered serious injuries and became strangely stronger after that.
(I thought that the experience of『winning over the strong』and becoming more confident, made my sword sharper…)
There seems to be a theoretical proof of this phenomenon.
「While you were playing around at Thousand Blade Academy… Day after day after day, I… I’ve been running through battlefields for a long time! Grovelling on the ground! Drinking muddy water! Cutting people! All of it just to take revenge on you! The one who destroyed my life!」
Dodriel shouted, distorting his face with hatred.
(This guy is broken…)
His personality had already been irrevocably broken.
It was the duel from a year ago that triggered this.
Dodriel was defeated in front of a large crowd that he had gathered. By me, who he had been mocking for three years as the『dropout swordsman』
That’s what hurt his delicate pride.
(Objectively speaking, it’s unjustified resentment, but…)
This is certainly the seed that I sowed.
That is why, to put an end to this – I’ll cut him.
「You who were immersed in the complacence called Swordsmanship Academy… I wonder if you can cut me?!」
Dodriel widened his eyes, and
「Rain Style Secret Technique – Passing Shower!」
A one-point concentrated thrust.
I gave a short answer to his question.
「Aa, I can cut you!」
I swung down my『pseudo-black sword』that was covered with darkness.
The swing cut through the『shadow world』and carved a deep sword wound into his chest.
「GA, AAAAAAAAAAAA!? M-My… My world?!」
More than the wound on his chest, Dodriel was more shocked that his shadow world was destroyed with just one swing.
「By looking at your sword, I can see that you’ve gone through a lot of carnage. But even I was polishing my sword day after day.」
Ria, Rose, Sid-san, and Idol-san – none of them were easy opponents.
Every single battle was a struggle.
The days I’ve spent so far have never been『complacent』.
When I stared straight at Dodriel, he glared back with bloodshot eyes.
「This dropout swordsman’s atmosphere… It’s an eyesore forever and… EVERRRRR!」
Suddenly he coiled a tremendous『shadow』around his sword.
It was an aggregation of black, dirty, repulsive power, and tremendous negative energy.
Probably an attack containing all his strength. He is looking to settle the battle here.
「Here I come, Allen!」
As we both cried out, Dodriel swung his sword.
「Die – Shadow Phantom!」
At that moment a『wave of shadows』like a turbid stream surged forward at an astonishing speed.
It’s an overwhelming mass of violence that swallowed surrounding trees and rubble.
On the other hand, I raised my sword overhead and swung down resolutely.
「Sixth Sword – Dark Roar!」
A huge slash clad in darkness ran across while overturning the ground under.
Jet-black darkness and hollow shadows clashed violently.
A tremendous shock wave was produced, causing a huge crack to run across the main academy building.
The moment when it seemed that the two sides were equal – 『Darkness』swallowed everything.
The black Dark Roar destroyed everything and swallowed Dodriel. A wail echoed throughout the academy.
「…Did I do it?」
When the dust cleared, there was the figure of Dodriel standing on both legs, gasping for breath.
「Quite a tough guy.」
At the same time as I murmured, Dodriel slowly fell forward.
「Haa, haa… Shit…」
There were a number of deep sword wounds on his body. He shouldn’t be able to continue fighting anymore.
「…It’s over, Dodriel. The Holy Knights will soon come. Be quiet until then.」
The moment I turned my back.
「A, aha, ha… After all, Allen is… so kind… showing pity towards garbage like me… You see, I hate that naiveté about you to the point where I feel like vomiting!」
Dodriel’s whole body was enveloped in an eerie shadow.
I flusteredly jumped back and assumed Seigan no Kamae.
「-Ku, Ahaha, Hahahahahahahahahaha!」
As he laughed with an ear-bleeding voice, the black shadows clung to his body almost like a tattoo.
(His wounds are blocked.)
The black shadow connected the wounds and stopped the excessive bleeding.
「Ahaha… Right now, I could probably even tear up the『Thirteen Knights of the Oracle』!」
When he slashed the academy building as though trying out his new power, the outer wall blew out and the classroom inside was exposed.
(With just one swing?!)
There is no doubt that the shadow also has the effect of enhancing physical ability.
「『Shadow』and『Darkness』…Oddly, it’s a battle between fellow『black』! The fallen genius swordsman and the dropout swordsman – I wonder if it’s a well-matched power for fellow failures.」
I ignored Dodriel’s rambling and observed his body.
「…That power. You seem to be overdoing it crazily.」
Looking closer, his body was tightened by the shadows. Blood was oozing out of various places.
The shadows seem to force movement which exceeds the limit by tightening the cells.
「That’s not true… This『pain』is good! People grow up strong and indomitable by shouldering pain on their backs! Come now, Allen… Let’s『grow』together!」
With a heinous smile, Dodriel took an aggressive forward-leaning posture.
「Sorry to disappoint you, but your『growth』ends here today!」
I clad my body with denser darkness than ever before and assumed Seigan no Kamae.
This is how the battle between me and Dodriel plunged into the final phase.