Chapter 0252 Ryo vs Oscar
It was as if time came to a standstill.
No one moved.
No one spoke.
The front line forces of the Southern Army stood still, some of them hunched over, after facing a volley of artillery fire from the opponent.
Well, that was natural.
Just when they thought they were a goner after facing a thousand magic bombardments, an invisible wall of ice appeared in front of them and repelled everything.
The magicians of the Emperor’s Magic Division were also surprised inwardly, although none of them uttered a sound.
Their bombardments had been repelled by a single wall of ice.
Although, there were about four who were not surprised.
What broke the situation, where no one could move, was the sound of multiple footsteps coming from behind Ryo.
And a couple of voices.
“Is that Baron Hagen Benda’s <Teleportation>?”
“Most likely. However, even in our family’s information network, we have never received a report that a group of people can be teleported. As expected of the Empire. They must have kept the information thoroughly hidden.”
It’s the conversation between Abel and Phelps.
The two stood beside Ryo while having that exchange.
Baron Hagen Venda.
He is a ‘Baron assigned to the Imperial Army’, which was a very strange position.
He is the only man in the Central Nations who can use what is called ‘Space-time magic’.
Known magic are <Infinite Storage> and <Teleportation>.
Both are extremely useful magic for the military, so he ‘constantly’ moves with the Imperial Army.
What makes his ‘Space-time magic’ special is also how he came to be able to use it.
His father, the previous Baron Venda, was also able to use ‘Space-time magic’.
While his predecessor was able to use Space-time magic, the current Baron Hagen Venda was unable to use Space-time magic.
And the moment his predecessor died, Baron Hagen Venda was able to use Space-time magic… as if he had inherited the family curse.
While Abel and the others were talking about this, two figures from the Emperor’s Magic Division came forward.
Sure enough, it was Princess Fiona, the leader of the group, and Oscar, the second-in-command and known as the ‘Explosive Blaze Magician’.
“Are they…trying to have a representative match?”
“I guess so.”
Ryo asked and Abel answered.
“But you’re going to have a tough time dealing with those two…”
Abel said this with a frown, and Phelps added.
“The intel on the Explosive Blaze Magician is that he is unequaled in close-quarters combat. In a previous Imperial martial arts tournament, he left some pretty impressive records. Also, Princess Fiona is reputed to be more skilled than any other magician in history in using the treasured sword Raven, which she wears on her waist.”
“Are there that many magicians roaming about who are also good in melee combat…?”
Abel let out such words with a small sigh.
“I’m not surprised. I mean, if they can close in on their opponent, it’s all over, isn’t that kinda badass.”
“Yeah, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Abel denied Ryo’s words completely.
“Well, jokes aside. Before calling yourself a magician or anything like that, I believe that as a single individual, you should be able to fight in close quarters as part of your self-defense…that’s all I’m saying.”
“…I wish the other magicians could hear this.”
“Rin has Warren, and Rihya has you, Abel, right? To protect them.”
“And you have…Sera, huh?”
“Nah, I will be the one protecting her.”
“I-I see…so you’re going to be better than Sera…in close quarters…”
It’s a degree of magnitude that even Abel could not fathom at all….
Ryo took a step forward and chanted.
A body clone appeared.
As expected, the sight startled even the Imperial master-disciple duo.
Ryo thought he could hear their gasps.
Then he dared to say in a loud voice so that they could hear him.
“I’m more than enough to deal with these two.”
Understandably, Abel must have thought that it was a bad idea. And called out to stop Ryo.
“You understand that I can’t allow you to take the stage right? If by some stupid mistake you were to be taken out…”
“I’m still an A-rank swordsman, you know. And I’m sure you also know that there’s no reason for anyone but me to step forward in this situation. The Emperor’s daughter versus the new King, seems fitting, don’t you think?”
His Majesty the King was full of motivation.
That’s right, he was undoubtedly an adventurer and a swordsman before he was a King.
Ryo deactivated his <Avatar> and Abel stood beside him.
“Please try not to die.”
Saying this, Ryo and Abel fist-bumped each other.
They didn’t need to exchange words with each other.
The battle, divided into two pairs, began abruptly.
Swordsman versus swordsman.
Abel uses a large, two-handed sword that can be used as both a two-handed sword and a one-handed sword, a type of sword known as a Bastard Sword.
The slender Princess Fiona wields the treasured sword Raven, which is a bit shorter than Abel’s sword.
The effect of the treasured sword Raven puts Fiona in a pseudo-haste state, making her faster than usual, which is abnormal, to say the least, but Abel was able to handle it.
He refrained from making large swings, but adjusted the angle of his sword slightly and let it flow. He dodged using footwork. He even mixed in some feints using his vision.
By harmoniously combining everything, he negated the difference in sword speed.
In addition, his attacks were not all defensive but were timed appropriately to prevent Fiona from activating her offensive magic.
The same melee magic combat during a sword fight that had once put even the Hero Roman at a disadvantage in a mock battle, was now being completely restrained by Abel.
(An A-rank swordsman indeed. He is superior in everything but speed…. The only other person I have struggled this much against was master.)
Fiona’s expression did not change at all.
But she was quite bewildered in her mind.
It wasn’t that she had underestimated him by any means.
But she honestly thought that with the pseudo-haste buff from the treasured sword Raven, it shouldn’t be that difficult to outperform him.
But as it turns out…
(I don’t think I stand a chance of defeating him…)
(Her swordsmanship definitely lives up to the rumors…)
Abel was astonished.
Of course, he had heard that Princess Fiona’s swordsmanship was great.
And had also read the reports before.
But there was a big difference between reading about it and experiencing it.
He was well aware that the difference in speed is critical in sword fights.
But even so, he honestly thought that he could make do with his superior skills.
But as it turns out…
(I may have made a fatal mistake when I decided to step forward…)
The sword fight between Abel and Fiona proceeded to a sort of stalemate.
The other pair…while both drew their swords, somehow opened the fight with a magic showdown.
The cause, of course, was a remark that Ryo made.
“Freezing the princess and displaying her in the royal capital should make for a very good exhibition.”
Robbing your opponent of their cool is the very basic of the basics.
Oscar shouted and immediately chanted.
“<True Universal Collapse>”
Naturally, Ryo intercepted it.
“<Icicle Lance 256>”
Thick ice lances intercepted the rain of flaming rocks that poured down from above.
Repeatedly annihilating each other in mid-air, all the flaming rocks disappear.
But that wasn’t the end of it.
“<Flying Flame Lance>”
Flame lances suddenly appeared all around Ryo, and flew toward him.
“<Dynamic Steam Mine>”
Ryo then in turn intercepted them not with ice walls but with steam mines.
That was because the light generated at the time of spell mutual annihilation is dazzling.
In other words, a smokescreen of sorts.
And after setting off the smokescreen, an attack would obviously follow!
Ryo rushed in with his Murasame at the ready.
Oscar attacked, with a waterfall of flames flowing sideways.
He had seen through Ryo’s move to transition to close combat using the smokescreen.
“<Laminated Ice Wall 10 Layers> <Water Jet Thruster>”
The Flame Falls was more powerful than expected.
Ryo, who judged that an ordinary ice wall wouldn’t do, chose the laminated ice wall.
Moreover, he moved backward with water jet.
The flames were powerful enough to devour more than half of the stacked ice walls.
Ryo was frankly surprised at the incomparable power of this fire compared to that during Whitnash.
(Isn’t this…as strong as the Hell Fire Akuma Leonor used back then? I’m surprised that even a human can become so strong in such a short time.)
Ryo muttered to himself in his mind.
<Flame Falls> and the <Laminated Ice Wall> collided, illuminating the area with dozens and hundreds of annihilation particles.
As if to mask himself with them, Oscar chanted softly.
At that moment, hundreds of needles of white flame were generated all around Ryo and swooped down on him.
Since <Flying Flame Lance> couldn’t break through, he chose to suppress him with sheer numbers.
“Dream on! <Water Jet 1024>”
1024 water jets were generated, orbiting Ryo in a random orbit.
Then, they struck the white flame needles accordingly, and the mutual annihilation occurred with them as well.
The exact opposite of his usual position, like when he was blocked by ‘Hassan’ and Leonor.
Similarly, Ryo could see that Oscar, who was currently being blocked, was astounded.
The moment when the largest amount of annihilation particles formed between them, Ryo charged toward Oscar.
A purely head-on charge with no tricks. With the fastest Men* Uchi. (TLN: Head strike: One of the five strikes in Kendo)
Oscar put up <physical barrier> and <magic barrier> at the same time to prevent it.
Ryo’s Murasame sliced through Oscar’s barrier as if it were butter.
Oscar’s surprised voice leaked out of his mouth as he dodged Murasame’s blade which cut through the barrier and approached him unceasingly.
It was only natural.
Even Roman’s holy sword Astaroth was repelled by this <Barrier>.
No way he could have imagined that it could be so easily cut through!
With Oscar’s muttering, the entire ground within a five-meter radius melted like lava.
Except for where Oscar was standing.
Ryo backed away, creating distance.
And close combat was no longer an option.
He could use <Ice Bahn> or something similar to nullify the lava, but he thought that it would not work that smoothly.
Then Ryo came up with a good idea.
“Then, how about this? <Laminated Ice Wall 10 Layer Package> <Squall>”
At that moment, a shower solidified the lava under his feet, and at the same time, a wall of ice enveloped Oscar…in all directions.
A spell in which the thickness of the ice wall increases from the walls towards Oscar in the center.
A skill once used against Akuma Leonor, and Bruno, an A-ranker.
“Child’s play! <Flame Lance Swirl>”
As Oscar shouted, dozens of flame lances were generated around him, spinning and orbiting around Oscar, continuously cleaving the ice walls approaching from all directions one after another, eventually breaking through them.
Breaking them down was, of course, within Ryo’s expectations.
Ryo chanted something shortly in his mind, readied Murasame, and plunged at Oscar again with <Water Jet Thruster>.
Naturally, Oscar did not let his guard down, even right after breaking through the looming ice walls.
Needless to say, he expected Ryo to attack him as a follow-up.
And sure enough, he dove in.
It was an attack at the speed of sound with <Water Jet Thruster>, but Oscar was no pushover.
He readjusted his drawn sword, widened his stance, and planted his feet on the ground to be ready for anything…or at least tried to….
An inarticulate expression escaped Oscar’s mouth.
His feet, as he tried to plant himself, was frozen.
And so, Oscar lost balance as he could not hold his ground.
Then, Ryo charged in at a speed exceeding that of sound.
A single flash of Murasame.
Oscar’s left arm was cut off.
Ryo was aiming for the neck, but missed.
Ryo was hit by an explosion. The left arm that he slashed off exploded!
Without even the slightest flow of magic power, the left arm suddenly exploded.
Oscar had cast delay magic on his own body…an extraordinary one that explodes when a limb is cut off.
Even Ryo didn’t keep track of the left arm he severed in his mind.
So, the explosion from it was completely unexpected.
Both of them stepped back to keep their distance.
The din of battle around them was completely gone.
At this point, the sword fight between Fiona and Abel had already stopped.
Neither of them was winning…so they naturally stopped as they realized that the showdown between the strongest magicians, not theirs, was the one to determine the outcome of the battle….
Ryo suffered burns around his right eye and lost half his eyesight as a result of the explosion.
Oscar lost his left arm after being cut with Murasame.
Even so, the two men’s will to fight had not waned in the slightest.
Ryo was trying to heal his burns with a slight coating of ice over his right eye.
Oscar cauterized the section of his arm that was cut off to stop the bleeding.
Ryo held Murasame in a middle stance. (TLN: Another Kendo stance, sword held in front at waist height pointed at the opponent’s eye)
Then he chanted.
Murasame’s sheath glowed just slightly, and his clones emerged.
With that setup, the following skills were pretty obvious.
“<Icicle Lance Shower> <Water Jet Thruster>”
Numerous ice lances were shot out toward Oscar, and at the same time, fine sprays of water shot out from the backs of the three Ryo, driving them at the same speed as the ice lances.
The impact of the ice lances and the slashes from the three Ryo, which occurred in an instant, converged at once.
At the point of convergence, Oscar was nowhere to be found.
In imitation of what he had seen, he ‘flew’ by emitting his flames.
Imitating Ryo’s <Water Jet Thruster>….
Inherently, it was not something one can imitate just because they have seen it.
But Oscar flew.
Naturally, as it was his first time, he failed in his landing.
And tumbled to the ground.
But he nimbly softened his fall and rolled up on one knee, ready to fight back at any moment.
The moment he took the stance…Oscar realized that he had failed.
Where the clones should have converged, they were not there.
No one was there.
Not the main body….
Be it a coincidence that Oscar held up his right hand, or was it due to his unusual childhood experience.
Ryo descended directly from above.
Oscar’s right arm was held up, causing the sword to shift slightly.
Slashing Oscar’s right arm and right shoulder, not his head.
The moment Oscar realized he had failed, he abandoned the right half of his body.
Amidst the plume of blood that erupted….
Without thinking, he unleashed his magic on Ryo, who descended in front of him.
A surprisingly thick piercing fire was generated and pierced Ryo.
Ryo was stabbed in the stomach with a pillar of white flame.
Oscar’s left arm was cut off, and he also lost his right shoulder and beyond.
The two of them were within a hair’s breadth of each other.
If they reached out their hands, they could reach each other immediately.
But neither of them could move.
It was all they could do to hold on to their consciousness….
Even though just the smallest of movements would have decided the outcome!