Two days after Vermudol returned from the Northern Army Headquarters.
Vermudol decided to be learn how to use the sword from the Central General Gordy, and went to the Demon King Castle’s rear garden the day he talked with Fainell.
It was there that he requested Gordy, who was covered in moss as usual in her Golem form, for sword technique training.
And then, right now……in the Demon King Castle’s rear garden, the sound of metal clashing was resounding.
The slow sounds intensified little-by-little, and became sharper.
Before long, after a high-pitched sound resounded, silence returned.
「……Fumu. Well, it’s something like this.」
After Gordy nodded from sending Vermudol’s sword flying, she stabbed the iron sword meant for training use into the ground, and held a hand out the collapsed Vermudol.
Although the blade was removed for the sake of training use, there was weight to the iron sword so it had a befitting offensive ability.
There was some offensive ability to wooden swords as well, but with the reason of them being too light to be of any use for training, they weren’t used in the Zadark Kingdom.
Then again, with it being said that injured people were appearing one after another during training due to the iron swords, a situation where they were getting their priorities backwards was happening though.
「Are you alright?」
「I am fine but……Uumu, my hands are numb.」
After being pulled up by Gordy and standing up, Vermudol brushed off the dirt that had gotten on him.
「You aren’t bad. However, your movements are delayed at the moment of receiving an attack.」
「Mu, I see. I guess I really can’t learn it all in a day.」
「Fufu, I would be troubled if you were to learn it all so easily though.」
Saying “that’s true……” to Gordy, Vermudol laughed.
He had just started taking lessons.
Things had somehow taken form with his given physical ability as a Demon King, but it had not reached the stage of being called sword technique.
He didn’t know how he should attack and how he should defend.
Since he couldn’t erase the amateurish behavior of moving after thinking, just as Gordy said, his reactions ended up coming out late.
「Still, as expected of you, Gordy.」
「No, my sword is a defensive sword after all. I am inferior to the other generals in the aspect of attack.」
There were masters of various swords in the Demon King Army.
For example, Ichika had an ever-changing battle style that used a sword and shield, but she had enough skill to compete for first or second place in the Demon King Army even without her shield and with just her sword.
Also, Nino’s ultrafast sword techniques that use two curved blades were something super aggressive that would turn the enemy into little pieces in an instant. Even if the first attack was defended against, a curved blade would come attacking from a different angle in the next instant.
The Western General Sancreed was an orthodox Magic Swordsman, and was the one with the least amount of peculiarities in his sword techniques.
Then again, that was only limited to his sword……When it came to actual battle, he would unhesitatingly unleash incredible footwork. It seemed that he didn’t just do sword technique training, as he would also sometimes do hand-to-hand combat training with Fainell.
The Northern General Altejio would unleash his sword while constantly doing calculations for several tens of move, for several hundred of moves ahead, and would soundly corner his opponent.
That was the sword technique that was hardest to learn, but if he were to learn it, it would surely be the battle style with the least amount of openings.
And then, Gordy who was in front of him right now used sword techniques that prioritized defense, and skillfully performed both attack and defense with a single sword.
However, with the fact that she could fight normally against the other masters in the Demon King Army, he could tell how remarkable it was.
If Nino were around, she would passionately make an appeal to play the teacher role, but right now, she was in the Jiol Forest Kingdom.
Since it seemed like there would be a bit of a disturbance if Vermudol didn’t choose Nino, it was probably for the best that she wasn’t here right now.
Ichika seemed like she was the one most suited for the teacher role, but he felt awkward about asking for that when she was busy doing work that had accumulated over the past few days.
Of course, she would accept it with an immediate reply if he were to ask her, but for some reason, he didn’t want to increase her burdens.
Since the rest of the Four Cardinal Generals were also busy with their respective work, in that case, it was probably for the best to request it of Gordy who also had little work to do and was covered in moss in the rear garden……that is what he thought.
Of course, there was also another reason for it.
「Well, this is only a guess but……I’m suited to your sword, Gordy.」
「By that, you mean?」
「It’s because when I think of a scene where I am fighting with a sword, it’ll probably be a situation where I’m driven quite far to the wall.」
Vermudol was a Magician, not a Swordsman.
For a Magician, it was normal to battle while taking distance from the opponent, and the fact of having an opponent draw near meant that it would be his defeat.
Although there was physical defense magic like Attack Guard, it would be the end once that was broken.
Trying to overcome that weakness of Magicians known as close combat was what a Magic Swordsman was, but since they would have to train in both sword techniques and magic, in the end, their true strength in either one was half-baked.
The reason why Vermudol was taking lessons in the sword was in order to become a Magician that can also use the sword, and he was thinking that he would persistently keep magic as the main method of attack.
Well, if he were to become a Magic Swordsman as a result of his sword technique improving, that in itself would be fine though.
「My new sword certainly is powerful……but I am originally a Magician. I was thinking that my sword should be clearly defined as something meant for defense……that’s how it turned out.」
Noticing Ichika’s presence standing at his back before he knew it, Vermudol turned around.
After Ichika sent her gaze to Vermudol, Gordy, and then the iron sword, in that order, she narrowed her eyes.
「……If you had just asked, I would have made time though.」
「Ahー……No, I was thinking that it wouldn’t be right to place any more burdens on you, Ichika.」
「I am happy for those feelings, but it is not a problem. But more than that, there is nothing more encouraging to me than having you rely on me, Vermudol-sama.」
「Is, is that so……?」
「Nn, ahh……Sorry about that.」
Hearing Ichika declare that, Vermudol reflexively hung his head and averted his gaze.
He predicted that it would turn into an uproar if he were to be seen like this by Nino, but he didn’t think that it would turn out like this from being seen like this by Ichika.
After drawing closer to Vermudol who was bewildered by this literally unforeseen situation, Ichika spoke as if pressing him for an answer.
「Besides, to clearly define the sword as something for the sake of defense……if there is an opening, you should have the disposition to at least tear the opponent to pieces.」
「Mu, in regards to that, I am also in partial agreement. By thinking of only defense from the start, you will give your opponent some leeway in spirit. Demon King-sama, I am plenty aware of your skill in magic……but even so, I do not believe that you should cast away the card of a sword attack from the start.」
「Th, that’s true.」
Pressured by the course of events, Vermudol could only nod.
And then, this time, Ichika glared at Gordy.
「And so……what do you mean by partial?」
「I cannot agree with the “tear to pieces” part. If one becomes that aggressive, that opening will be targeted. Ultimately, a single attack should be enough. This goes for you as well, but it seems that the master hands of the Demon King Army have a tendency to have an excessive attack virtue.」
「It is not like I am Nino, and I am not saying that attacking is the strongest defense. However, if one is going to move into an attack, they need to go with enough force to bring the opponent down with certainty, or else the battle will be lengthened pointlessly. That might be fine for someone like you who has too much free time though.」
Ignoring Ichika’s cutting remark, Gordy hit her hands together with a *pon*.
「Ahh, I see. So you are jealous.」
Hearing Gordy’s unexpected words, Ichika opened her eyes wide in surprise.
However, she immediately returned to having a straight face and shook her head sideways.
「I am unable to understand what you are saying.」
「I see. If you are fine with that, then I do not have anything in particular to say.」
Gordy shrugged her shoulders as if to say “good grief”, while Ichika continued to glare at that Gordy.
Vermudol scratched his cheek wondering “what should I do about this?”.
With a situation where he couldn’t speak up being completed at some point, he decided to look up at the sky for some reason.
Turning to the sky that was dull as usual, he breathed a sigh.
「……Vermudol-sama! So this is where you were!」
Responding to that voice, Vermudol turned his gaze to the rear entrance of the Demon King Castle.
What was there was the figure of a black clothed Mazoku that was running over this way.
「Halt! Going by that appearance, you are one of our intelligence operatives, aren’t you……What business do you have with Demon King-sama!」
After pulling out the iron sword in her hand, Gordy pointed the tip of it at the intelligence operative.
The intelligence operative was Rokuna’s subordinate, but normally, they would not come to make a direct report to Vermudol.
Ichika also placed a hand on the sword at her waist, and took up a stance where she could draw it at any time.
Seeing the state of those two, the intelligence operative hurriedly came to a stop, and knelt down right at that spot.
「There is an urgent report from Nanalus-sama who is stationed at the Jiol Forest Kingdom!」
「From Nanalus……? It’s fine, speak.」
Nanalus was the diplomat stationed in the Jiol Forest Kingdom, but this was the first time he made a report other than the regularly scheduled reports.
Receiving Vermudol’s permission, the intelligence operative raised their head and spoke out the contents of the report that they were entrusted with.
「Yessir, here is the report! Nino-sama has gone missing in the Great Jiol Forest!」