Ryuu Kusari no Ori -Kokoro no Uchi no “Kokoro”- - Chapter 5.16
Chapter 5 Part 16
Translator : PolterGlast
When Nozomu started fighting Anri, Jin and his friends were running through the forest to join Mars and the others.
They were trying to join Mars as soon as possible, but Deck who was running behind suddenly stopped.
"Haa, haa ... Deck, what's wrong?"
"... Jin. I'll go back."
"Think about it. We don't need the three of us to tell Mars about the fight with Anri, the others should go to help Nozomu, who is earning us time right now."
Jin thought about Deck's words. Certainly, if they only needed to contact Mars, they wouldn't need the three of them to leave at once.
"But Deck. Isn't your arm injured? Even if you go to help him, that arm..."
Jin turned his gaze on Deck's arm, whose uniform was torn, and Deck raised his arm as if nothing had happened.
"The wound is closed, so I can use the spear now. And there are other ways to fight even if it's not close-quarter combat. Also... can you burden him any more than this?"
What Deck said was the same as what Jin felt in his heart.
They propose to combine their party with special training in their minds. However, Jin also felt that they are only very dependent on Nozomu and Mars.
Strategy, planning, base building, trap installation, and operation command. Everything has been proposed and implemented by Nozomu.
Of course, Jin and his friends were not powerless and useless. The cooperation of Jin and his friends was indispensable in the fight with the 4th class party earlier.
Certainly, Nozomu was the one in charge of their joint party. However, in their hearts, the question of whether it would be okay to leave everything to Nozomu continued to rise.
"... Jin, I'll also go back"
Following Deck, Hamria also declared that she would go back.
Probably because she was still scared of the fight with Anri, she gripped her wand tightly. However, even so, her eyes were only firmly stared at Jin.
"...Thanks to Nozomu, we were able to defeat the opponent we couldn't win until now. I think it will be difficult for ourselves to win in the future. So, his strength is absolutely necessary."
"And we don't know how long Nozomu will last against Anri-sensei. Then there should be someone who can help him even a little bit. I know Nozomu won't complain. Also, until we join Mars, you will be the one in command. He said that, right?"
"... That's true. Deck, Hamria. Now, you two go back and support Nozomu-kun. I'll let Mars know about this."
Jin nodded at Deck's words. Smiles appeared on Deck and Hamria's faces.
"Alright, I'll leave it to you. Please come before we are wiped out. "
The three nodded and confirmed each other's intentions, and each of them rushed out for what they should do.
"Wha! Why are you two here!?"
"Why? Of course, we came here to support you"
Nozomu was surprised that Deck and Hamria, who should have been instructed to join Mars, came back. When Deck declared to him that he came to help without hesitation, he stepped between Nozomu and Anri and wield his spear to protect Nozomu.
"Nozomu-kun. Are you okay?"
As Deck faced Anri, Hamria came to Nozomu's side and helped him.
Nozomu stood up while staggering and wield his katana once again.
"Hmm~. Did they decided to go back?"
Anri put her hand on her cheek and tilted her head cutely. Coupled with her appearance and atmosphere, it was an extremely picturesque sight. But that was unless she didn't have a whip and an iron rod in her hands.
"Right now, Jin is on his way to call Mars and the others. In the meantime, we should hold on here. Is that okay?"
Nozomu stared at Deck with an expression like he wanted to say something, but Deck didn't look at Nozomu. He only said one sentence then focused on wielding his spear.
The word "we" came out of Deck's mouth. The word slowly seeped through Nozomu's heart and started buzzing. His body was shaking and his heart was beating faster.
Nozomu's hand holding the katana was full of energy. He stomped his foot firmly on the ground and looked straight at Anri. Anri, who saw such a situation, opened her mouth with a happy expression.
"... Alright! Then, here I go ~"
The Qi emanating from Anri's entire body increased all at once. Her body was enveloped in a faint light, and the light extended to her weapon. Apparently, after Nozomu's party members joined the fight, she decided to take them seriously.
Nozomu and Deck rushed out at the same time as Anri swung her whip. Hamria moved further back, and the moment she stepped out of the range of Anri's whip attack, she started chanting her spell.
"Deck! Anri-sensei can also fight in close quarters! Don't let your guard down!"
Anri's whip approached Nozomu and Deck.
They ran with all their might, facing the web of whips that spread out in all directions.
When Deck and Hamria joined with Nozomu and resumed the battle, Mars and the others were waiting for Nozomu's team at the designated place. Mars' pendant shines, it is a sign that he has completed the task. Regina flower is being sought for the task. Mars and the others found another party near the flower, so they immediately decided to defeat the enemy party.
First, Mars jumped in an instant and blew away several enemies, and Cami attacked the opponent's mage through that gap.
Of course, even though the enemy was surprised, they were still a high-class student. The remaining members immediately regained their composure and tried to push Mars and the others back.
However, Mars retaliated against the opponent who tried to push them back with his Qi technique *Dust blade* and wiped the enemy out. The enemy party, whose formation was torn apart, was finally annihilated without being able to stop Mars rushing towards them, and Mars managed to gain points for both completing the task and defeating the enemy party.
After that, Regina flower was delivered to the headquarters, and just as he was about to return to where Nozomu's team was, Mars's [Twin Stone of Tragic Fate] shone and he immediately headed straight for the designated place.
"...That guy, Nozomu. He's late"
A worried voice escaped from Mars' mouth. It's been a while since Mars' team arrived at the designated place, but Nozomu's team didn't seem to show up.
The distance from the base where Nozomu was to this designated place was closer than the distance from the position where Mars' [Twin Stones of Tragic Fate] shone to the designated place. So Mars thought that Nozomu's team was already there when they arrived.
Even though it took time for Nozomu's team to escape, still, they took too long no matter what.
"Maybe everyone is already done ..."
"It's possible. There were students of the 4th class who chased us before we got to the base. If they were to chase them to the base then ..."
Tommy muttered so, and Cami started talking about the students chasing them to agree with Tommy's opinion.
Tommy nodded at Cami's words, but Mars was skeptical and put his hand on his mouth.
"Is that really the case? Even if he can't win, I don't think he can be defeated so easily..."
At that moment, they heard something approaching from the depths of the bushes. Mars and the others, who thought it was an enemy, readied their respective weapons. But what came out of the bushes was not their enemy, but Jin, who was supposed to be with Nozomu.
"Haa, haa, haa ..."
"O-oi! Are you okay!?"
"What happened? What happened to Deck? What about Hamria?"
Tommy caught Jin who was rushing towards them while breathing roughly. Cami knew that Jin was the only one who came here, and she asked what happened to the other companions.
"Haa, haa... A-Anri-sensei... is a special target... attacking the base..."
""" !! """
What came out of Jin's mouth struck Mars and the others into a whirlpool of astonishment. Nozomu stayed behind to stop the attacking Anri. On their way, Deck and Hamria decided to go back to assist Nozomu. And while they were stalling Anri to gain time, Jin went to call Mars and the others.
"... I understand. Let's go join Nozomu and the others now."
"W-wait a second! Does Mars think that they haven't been disqualified yet!? The enemy is a school teacher, right? Isn't it impossible to win!?"
It was Tommy who prevented Mars from trying to join Nozomu. Cami next to him also nodded as she agreed with his opinion as to whether she had the same opinion as Tommy.
If Jin's story was true, then it was been a long time since Nozomu's team came into contact with Anri. Besides, Nozomu seemed to be fighting alone against Anri. No wonder those who were skeptical of Nozomu's abilities, doubt the survival of Nozomu and the others.
"Then what would we do? Are you guys going to stay here? I'm going. I don't think he can be defeated so easily. Maybe he's already beaten Anri."
Mars smiled as if provoking them. Tommy and Cami frowned due to his smile. In such a terrible atmosphere, Jin who was still breathing roughly stood up and began to return to where he came from.
Tommy and Cami were confused to see such a situation. With two people behind him, Jin tried to get back to Nozomu and the others as soon as possible.
"……Are you alright, Jin?"
"Haa, haa ... I-I'm fine. Anyway, let's go quickly. Otherwise, it'll be a burden on Nozomu-kun and the others..."
"I told you! They may have been disqualified!"
Mars worried about Jin, whose breathing was still panting, but Jin said he was fine and tried to get back to Nozomu and the others.
Tommy yelled when he saw Jin like that, but contrary to his painful breathing, Jin's expression was calm.
"It's okay. I think Nozomu-kun and the others haven't been disqualified yet..."
"What is the basis for you to say that..."
Tommy, who can't believe that Nozomu and the others haven't been disqualified yet, asked for Jin's reasons.
"... When we were waiting for you guys to return, the enemy party that chased us before we came to the base caught up. They were 4th class students..."
Tommy's expression clearly still couldn't believe Nozomu. Jin just decided to talk about how they defeated such a superior enemy party. Tommy opened his eyes wide at Jin's story.
“If we were the only ones, we would have been instantly defeated, but in the end, we were able to annihilate the enemy party that was chasing after us… why do you think we could do that?”
Talking so far, Tommy could imagine who helped them win. Even so, Jin pointed out the fact to him who didn't want to believe it.
“It's all because of Nozomu you know. Thanks to the traps and strategies he devised, we were able to win. I'm sure he'll be fine even if the opponent is Anri-sensei. You probably won't believe this because the opponent is a teacher, not a student. But, I believe he will be okay…”
"" ............... ""
"...Then, let's check it ourselves."
Jin proposed to the two of them who were silent without saying anything to go check it out. Of course, they wouldn't know what happened to Nozomu and the others who actually fought Anri. The only way to find out is to actually check it out.
"That's why, let's check it out. We can only hope Nozomu and the others are safe by the time we get there, right?"
"B-but. If they are defeated, we can be the next..."
Jin, who worried about their further decline in strength, tried to give Tommy a push.
"Anyway, if we lose them, our party's strength will drop significantly. Do you think we can survive this training under such circumstances? Nozomu is the brain of this party, so if we lose our heads, I don't think we can continue fighting properly, isn't that right?
Their party was inferior compared to other parties in terms of individual abilities. In order to overturn it, it was necessary to have the number and coordination. And if those three, Nozomu, Deck, and Hamria, were gone, nearly half of the members at their party will be gone. With this, it would be impossible for them to continue in this training.
"...It's decided then. Let's go."
Although a little reluctant, maybe because they believed in Jin's words, Tommy and Cami started chasing Mars and Jin who had started running.
When they started heading towards Nozomu's team, Nozomu's team was in trouble.
The battle between Anri and Nozomu was dominated by Anri. As Nozomu's party members joined in their fight and the fact that he was almost landing a hit of his counterattack, Anri decided that it was okay to take them seriously.
She enveloped her Qi not only to her whole body but also to her weapons, which made her whip even sharper, and her attacks literally became like illusionary movements.
However, Nozomu and the others were unwilling to remain silent. Nozomu and Deck took advantage of their numbers to sneak through the whips and get close to Anri. Hamria also used magic to launch ranged attacks. However, even if Nozomu and Deck ignored their wounds to approach Anri, in the end, they were blocked by the black iron rod, and Hamria's magic from a long distance was dodged or knocked down by the whip. Even though it had been a long time since Deck and Hamria had joined the fight, they were gradually being pushed back instead.
Anri's whip hit Nozomu's shoulder. Blood spurted from where it was struck, but Nozomu never stopped. He flew sideways and hid behind a tree, he dodged the whip that struck again.
" ! "
Deck closed the gap with a dash while Nozomu was attracting Anri's whip. Deck thrust his spear from the side, but Anri blocked it with her black iron rod without difficulty, and she turned over the wrist of her hand holding the whip.
Anri entwined her whip around Deck's legs, and she flung Deck's body with all his might.
Hamria activated her magic in that gap. A flame bullet approached Anri, but she parried it off with her whip after she sent Qi into it.
"Th-this is bad!"
Beyond the direction of the flame bullet that Anri parried off was Nozomu who was hiding in a tree. If nothing was done, he would be burned by his own ally's magic.
The flame bullet landed on the tree at almost the same time as Nozomu jumped out of the shade of the tree. At that moment, the exploding flames scattered around and burned the surrounding trees and vegetation.
"I-it was dangero- ... -eh, again !!"
Anri's whip approached Nozomu once again who jumped out of the shade of the tree. Just like before, Nozomu tried to deal with the approaching whip using his Qi technique "Instant Move -Curve Dance-" and the surrounding trees as his shield, but the whip was sharper than before and continued to aim at Nozomu accurately while weaving through the gaps between the trees.
In the end, Nozomu was unable to shake the whip off and retreated temporarily. He went towards Hamria, where the whip couldn't reach him.
"Are you alright?"
"Yes, I was saved."
Hamria casted recovery magic on Nozomu who had retreated. The light that enveloped his body accelerated his body's healing. It closed the wound on his shoulder caused by Anri's whip.
Deck who was flung away also comes to Nozomu and Hamria.
"...As I thought, we are no match for her."
"That's right. Anri-sensei is very strong. I didn't expect it from her usual behavior..."
Deck sighed as he remembered Anri's lessons in class.
Anri didn't chase Nozomu and Deck who retreated. Her expression was the same gentle smile as usual, but there was no opening in her posture.
Anri closed the distance and didn't attack them with her whip, but she walked slowly as if to tease them. The intimidation they felt from her appearance remained the same, but Anri's cheeks seemed to smile at Nozomu.
"U-umm, sensei. Sensei's rank is A rank, isn't it?"
"Hmm~. My rank~? That's right~"
Hamria asked about Anri's rank timidly, and Anri clearly confirms that she was A rank.
Deck and Hamria were gasped due to that fact.
"Umm, hey, is A rank that strong?"
"...How shall I say it? Even though one's has the same A rank, I think their ability varies. In the first place, apart from us students, other people's rank is based on their achievements. So the rank is just one of the guidelines ... "
Deck asked Nozomu, but Nozomu couldn't answer the question clearly.
If they were students, the ranking will be determined by your grades. Others, such as adventurers and soldiers, were based on their own achievements, so their rank didn't necessarily lead appropriately to their abilities.
It was quite possible that even if the person had the ability, he/she may not have sufficient results or achievements.
Nozomu indeed felt a lot of intimidation from the current Anri, but he didn't felt it as intimidating as his master Shino.
In particular, the intimidation Nozomu felt when he ended up fighting a deadly battle with Shino was incomparable compared to the intimidation he felt from Anri right now.
"...I think there is no doubt that Anri-sensei's rank is A rank. Also, I think her abilities are considered high in A rank."
From that fact, Nozomu thought that Anri's abilities would be much higher than A rank. However, no matter how much Nozomu understood Anri's abilities, it didn't mean that Nozomu and the others would have the advantage.
Some of Nozomu's acquaintances are of the same rank as Anri, such as Irisdina and Tima. But there was no doubt, even Irisdna, who was at the top of his year, would struggle against the current Anri.
(Anyway, her whip is the most troublesome thing. If we don't do something about it, we will be pushed out ...)
"... Nozomu-kun~. What's wrong~? If you don't come, I'll go there instead~."
Anri swung the whip while saying so.
Nozomu and the others left their place by scattering before the whip that was swung down reached them.
Nozomu and Deck jumped left and right, and Hamria retreated backward.
Anri who saw Nozomu's team spread out, immediately took aim and swung her arm. The aim was Nozomu.
Nozomu tried to dodge it with "Instant Move -Curve Dance-", but when Nozomu changed direction, Anri's whip also changed direction to follow him.
Anri changed the direction of the whip by manipulating the Qi she put into the whip and the movement of her wrist. Finally, the whip hit Nozomu's upper arm. Unlike the fight before Deck and Hamria came, Anri's whip was definitely started to reach Nozomu.
Anri's whip and Nozomu's moves. The former was overwhelmingly superior in terms of speed, but it was still difficult to catch Nozomu due to Nozomu's complicated curve moves.
However, what allowed the whip to reach Nozomu was just a simple reason.
(Umm, what would Nozom-kun do after this~? There's still some distance, so I wonder if he'll jump back a little~?)
After Anri thought so, Nozomu jumped back while holding his upper arm which was hit by the whip. For the time being, he kept his distance.
(Then, in the next moment~, while pretending to retreat~, he will move forward at once~~)
Anri launches her whip. Her aim was a place in front of Nozomu. In the next moment, Nozomu, who had once jumped backward, activated his "Instant Move" with all his might as soon as his feet touched the ground.
Anri had been watching over her students for a long time. Therefore, she could predict what their next move would be.
As a result, Nozomu moved towards the place that Anri had predicted. Nozomu tried to dodge the whip that was approaching towards his head from above, but the whip had already gained momentum and cannot be avoided. He averted his head and avoided a direct hit to his head, but the whip that was swung hit straight at his shoulder.
A voice of agony came out of Nozomu's mouth as intense pain shot through his shoulder. Anri raised her arm as she was about to launch another attack on him.
(Then~, when I try to attack Nozomu-kun~, Deck-kun will come from behind~)
Anri suddenly looked back while raising her whip. There, Deck, who was going around from behind while Nozomu stalled for time, was about to thrust his spear.
Deck, who knew that his actions have been read, distorted his face in regret, but he still thrust his spear without stopping. However, Anri parried the spear with the black iron rod in her other hand, and she immediately closed the gap and launched a roundhouse kick on Deck's flank.
Her strengthened kick blew Deck's body easily, and the blown Deck was slammed into the trunk of a tree.
Anri turned around after Deck had blown away. At that moment, a flame bullet grazed her side and hit the tree behind her.
(Hmm~. Is it a little to the side?)
Anri, who easily dodged Hamria's magic, fired a magic bullet at Hamria. The magic bullet that was fired landed on Hamria's wand she was holding, and the impact caused her to be blown away.
(For an impromptu team, they certainly have good cooperation~. Nozomu's movement is good, Deck and Hamria's follow-up isn't bad either~. I wonder if the problem is that I'm a little too serious~.)
Anri inwardly praised Nozomu's current team.
The cooperation itself was not bad. Rather, it was quite well done. The timing of the attacks wasn't too bad, and they could follow each other's movements in their own way, so the others wouldn't think this was the first party they'd formed. Perhaps there was something that connected them so far.
Anri was genuinely happy that Nozomu, who had been isolated in the class until now, was able to work with classmates other than Mars, but even if they had a little cooperation, it still wasn't enough to sneak through her whip.
Others tended to be fooled by Anri's usual laid-back atmosphere, but contrary to her atmosphere, she certainly had a considerable insight.
Nozomu's team was solid in terms of defense because their roles were clear, with Nozomu as the vanguard, Deck as the middle guard, and Hamria as the rearguard. However, each of their movements had been seen by Anri so far. It wasn't too difficult for Anri, who had always watched over them, to read their movements.
Their purpose was to gain time, but it was still difficult to do so since Anri was able to use the whip freely. Moreover, as their actions were predicted by Anri, they gradually became unable to handle Anri's attacks.
(Are they already done? ... ara?)
After Anri managed to attack Nozomu and the others, this time she tried to attack Deck who was blown away. But Nozomu rushed in at Anri once again.
"I'll tell you~. Your attack is solid~, but... it's easy to read~."
" !! "
The whip that Anri was about to launch towards Deck turned around and instead launched towards Nozomu. The whip approached Nozomu from diagonally above at a speed that was clearly faster than before.
Nozomu sent all of his Qi into his feet and released them all at once.
The burst of Qi released made Nozomu reach top speed in an instant. His own speed wasn't fast, but he tried to ward off Anri's whip with an instantaneous acceleration.
However, the same hand didn't work for Anri twice. With her full power, she instantly turned her whip back, and she in turn fired her second shot as if to hit Nozomu from the side.
Nozomu bit his lip as he faced the approaching whip. He already knew that the whip couldn't be avoided with "Instant Move -Curve Dance-" alone. And if he handled it with his katana, he would be exposed in that gap.
Nozomu ignored the approaching whip and thrust in. At the same time, he sent his Qi into his hand that was not holding the katana and compressed it.
(Anri-sensei's weapon belongs to the striking type. If I take a hit at the part where I compressed Qi, then I will be able to handle the blow!)
Nozomu dared to ignore Anri's attack and tried to close the distance. His extreme concentration was able to read the trajectory of Anri's whip, causing the tip of the whip to accurately be received by the part of his arm that had been enveloped in an extremely compressed Qi.
A shock pierced his arm with such a sound. The pain spread from the arm to the brain, and the voice of agony escaped from Nozomu's mouth.
But still, Nozomu didn't stop. He was only a few steps away from reaching her with his katana. He couldn't go down here.
Nozomu raised his katana overhead while holding back the pain in his arm. Anri was already preparing to confront Nozomu with her black iron rod. Anyway, it was necessary for Nozomu to close the distance and bring Anri into a situation where she couldn't use her whip. However…….
Nozomu's katana suddenly stopped in midair. When he saw his katana, Anri's whip wrapped around the blade of his katana.
(Damn! She can control the whip with her Qi ...)
The whip that Nozomu thought he had repelled had been manipulated by Anri's Qi which she sent to her wrist and whip. The whip interrupted Nozomu's katana's trajectory, wrapped itself around his katana, and made it stop moving.
Anri stepped towards Nozomu. At this moment, Nozomu was entwined together with his katana, and his upper body was completely floating. Anri tries to hit the black iron rod against Nozomu's defenseless body.
Nozom pulled out the scabbard on his waist to block Anri's black iron rod, but his posture was greatly crushed. Furthermore, Nozomu was blown away by receiving Anri's kicks in quick succession.
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He was struck to the ground and suffocated. Nozomu managed to stand up by forcing his aching body. Looking closely, Deck and Hamria also managed to stand up.
"~! Are you two okay...?"
The voices of those who answered Nozomu's question weren't good either. To be honest, Nozomu thought it would be impossible for them to gain any more time.
(The most reasonable decision would be to withdraw from this place… but, certainly, Anri won't let us do that.)
Anri's weapon was suitable for mid-range combat, but she can also use magic. She didn't seem to be using magic since she was currently using Qi techniques, but she might use magic if Nozomu and the others start withdrawing as she was no longer worried about being approached.
(It's better to think that conventional tactics and cooperation can be easily read by her. If so, there is no other choice but to take unconventional methods ...)
Nozomu remembered the time he had a one-on-one fight with Anri. Nozomu was once able to get close to her, though Anri wasn't serious about it. At that time, Nozomu's movement exceeded Anri's expectations, even if it was only temporary, and he was able to bring her into close-quarter combat. Then, if he could surprise Anri, his opportunity would come again.
"Nozomu. You still have some ways, right?"
Deck suddenly said such words, and Nozomu's mouth made a surprised voice. Deck, who saw Nozomu's expression, grinned and smiled.
"I can tell from your expression. So... can we win?"
Nozomu's plan was quite absurd and had many uncertain factors. But they can only do so with their current number of people despite the difficulties.
"If so, let's do it. It seems difficult for me and Hamria to fight any more than this, and I can't think of any other way. Then we have to bet on that plan."
When Nozomu looked at Hamria, she also looked straight at Nozomu and nodded.
"... There is another way which is for us to withdraw, but we need one person as a decoy so Anri-sensei couldn't chase the others."
"You fool. Then there's no point in us coming here!"
"That's right! We need Nozomu's strength to survive in this training. Besides, I want to beat Anri-sensei."
Hamria held her wand firmly. She who was timid earlier was like a lie.
"We were nothing at school. We were always ridiculed by students from other classes. We were always losing and facing our head down ..."
Hamria said so while looking down and clenching her teeth in regret.
Certainly, 10th class students were a complete loser from the perspective of the students of other classes, and the 10th class was a class for students who couldn't keep up at school. Nozomu was particularly despised even among the 10th class students due to the rumors that flowed and the suppression of his own abilities, but that didn't mean the 10th class students never received the same treatment as Nozomu.
As they walked through the corridors, they were sometimes seen with contempt, and sometimes they were struck by heartless words.
"But thanks to Nozomu, we were able to beat students from other classes. You proved to us that we can win."
That's why Nozomu, who proved that they won't lose to any other classes, looked dazzling to Deck and Hamria. They believed that they could win if they followed this person.
"That's why I want to win. To the students in other classes and Anri-sensei. Above all, I want to prove to those in the same class that we won't lose."
Hamria staring straight at Nozomu without hesitation. Deck also stares at Nozom with a strong will in his eyes.
Nozomu was overwhelmed by their eyes.
Unlike himself who continues to worry, they aim to win without hesitation.
And Irisdina, who had previously told him about her dreams, seemed to overlap with them.
Nozomu stared straight back at them.
Hamria looked straight at Nozomu without hesitation. Deck also looked at Nozomu with a strong will in his eyes.
Nozomu was overwhelmed by their gazes.
Unlike himself who was constantly worried, they aimed to win without hesitation, and Irisdina, who previously told him about her dream, seemed to overlap with them.
Nozomu looked straight at them.
"……I get it."
Nozomu, whose back was pushed by their gazes, told the two of them the strategy he had in mind. To those two who wanted to win and wanted to prove that they wouldn't lose.
Hamria and Deck, who heard Nozomu's plan, all opened their eyes wide while letting out surprised voices. Nozomu's strategy they heard was too crazy.
However, their shocked expressions were only momentary. They immediately tightened their facial expressions, they were ready to confront Anri.
"Are you done~?"
Anri's voice reached the ears of Nozomu and the others.
"Yes, with this we will defeat Sensei."
"Hmm~. I wonder if you can really do it~."
"Yes, for sure."
Nozomu and the others responded with their premature declaration of victory to Anri who had a provocative smile on her face. Anri's expression, upon seeing such a declaration, instantly changed from a provocative smile to a gentle smile that looked happy.
Deck also followed Nozomu's victory declaration, and Hamria replied while squeezing her wand tightly.
"... I see. Then, show it to your Sensei. Your "growth"!"
Anri swung her whip. The Qi-strengthened whip cut through the air and approached Nozomu and the others. Nozomu stepped forward and called out to Deck, exposing himself to the approaching whip.
"Yea, I know!"
Deck was chanting a spell behind Nozomu. The air around him gathered at the tip of his spear.
Eventually, he created a fist-sized wind mass and pierced the ground with the spear along with the wind mass.
The exploding wind mass blew up a large amount of soil and hid the appearance of Nozomu and the others. Anri's whip disappeared into the smoke, but she didn't feel any reaction. Looked like she missed her targets.
The next moment, a number of air bullets appeared from within the smoke and attacked Anri. She immediately swung her whip and knocked the air bullets down. But just as Anri was about to knock down the last air bullet, a shadow shot through the smoke. It was Deck.
"I predicted that ~"
Anri immediately responded to face Deck who was thrusting while dashing. She aimed her whip on Deck's legs as he ran towards her, reducing the momentum of his rush to gain time, and suppressed her Qi at the tip of the returning whip. She swung the whip towards Deck's temporal lobe.
Deck tried to block it by raising his spear in a hurry, but he was unable to block it completely. When the whip hit Deck's spear, it coiled around the spear and hit his shoulder strongly, and at the same time, the Qi that was infused into the whip exploded. Deck was burned, blown away, and fell to the ground.
(I wonder if it's Nozomu-kun next? or maybe Hamria-san's magic? But that alone won't be able to reach me~)
Anri suddenly heard a burst of noise and someone cut through the smoke.
Anri looked back at the smoke and held her whip again to intercept it.
"So, next is Nozomu-kun~. But at this point, you will... eh?"
Anri thought Nozomu had rushed in, but it was Hamria who rushed in instead. She rushed towards Anri at a speed that didn't seem like the usual mage.
"Eh~, eh ~~~ !!"
Anri thought Hamria was supposed to be at the rear end. She didn't expect Hamria to rush in instead. She swung her whip and tried to intercept, but the whip that was swung was repelled in the air and didn't reach Hamria.
Hamria, who was rushing towards Henri, hugged Anri's waist and slammed Anri's body against a tree trunk without slowing her momentum.
"Wh, wait a minute~. Hey~~!.
Anri swung her black iron rod down and tried to tear off Hamria, who was clinging to her, but the black iron rod was repelled again in midair. When she took a closer look, a thin film of light surrounded Hamria's body.
In fact, the thin film of light was a magical barrier, and because of this film, Anri's whip was also repelled before.
Hamria also activates the magic that she had chanted beforehand.
Earth chains wrapped around Anri's body and restrained her body. The chains also restrained Anri's whip, tying her whip to a tree along with her body so she can't use it.
"Eh? Eeh? Eeehhh!?"
When Anri was shocked, suddenly a wind blew towards her. There, Nozomu appeared in front of her.
He put his katana into its scabbard and showed his sword-drawing stance.
Anri's body was already completely restrained. She could free herself by force if she wanted to, but now she didn't have the time.
When she realized it, Nozomu's katana was pulled out. The accelerated slash with the scabbard as the launch pad cut Anri's pendant in half.
"... This is our victory."
Nozomu declared their victory. His aim was to disqualify Anri by destroying her pendant, which was proof of the training participants.
Everyone was hiding in the smoke created by Deck, and first, Nozomu retreated and goes to Hamria's back.
Deck then plunged in to divert Anri's eyes, and Hamria cast a magical barrier on herself to strengthen her own defense.
In addition, Hamria cast restraint magic, and when her magic was ready to be cast at Anri, Nozomu blew Hamria towards Anri with his Qi technique *Cannon*.
And while Hamria was clinging to Anri's body and restraining Anri with her restraint magic, Nozomu aimed to destroy Anri's pendant.
"A~ a~. You got me~."
Anri made a slightly disappointed voice, but her facial expression was gentle and looked very happy.
"It's a shame I was defeated. But I'm happy to see everyone's growth."
Anri smiled in satisfaction. For her, her students grew more than she expected. And that might be enough to ensure that Nozomu fits into the party.
(Yup! With this, he'll be alright! Nozomu-kun and his party members, I wonder how far they'll go~)
"Oi Nozomu! Are you okay!?"
At that time, Mars and his team came from the depths of the bush. Looked like they arrived just now.
"Lies... They won..."
"……Are you serious"
"Are you all okay?"
Jin, Tommy, and Cami appeared from behind Mars. Tommy and Cami were looking at Nozomu's team who defeated Anri as if they were looking at something incredible, and Jin helped Deck who was lying on the ground.
Hamria answered Jin's question in a cheerful voice. She had protected herself with a magic barrier, and she had no visible scars on her body.
"Yea, somehow I can still move ... but I'm disqualified ..."
However, it was not the case with Deck who sustained damage by Anri's whip. His pendant glowed red, announcing his disqualification.
Nozomu's face was distorted when he knew it. He was disappointed that he had disqualified Deck even though Deck had come to help him.
However, Deck didn't seem to be depressed at all and he had a cheerful expression instead.
"Don't worry, Nozomu. I'm rather grateful because we were able to beat that Anri-sensei ..."
It was a pity for him to retire on the way, but Deck didn't feel any regret.
He was able to win twice against opponents he had never thought he could win. He who wanted to win but couldn't win. The victory he had gained by confronting the existence that was supposed to be stronger than himself.
It gave him a feeling of satisfaction that he had never experienced before.
Therefore, he was grateful to Nozomu and had nothing to blame.
Perhaps his feelings were transmitted to Nozomu, his stiff expression was slightly loosened.
"Everyone, congratulations~. You've done your best~. You've beaten me, a special target, so I'll give you this~"
Anri happily gave the pendant she got from other students from her pocket to Nozomu's team. The number was more than 20. Considering the points for defeating the special target and the points Mars earned, it would be enough points to get to the top of the ladder at once.
"... W-with this... how high is our ranking?"
Deck was shocked that they have earned so many points at once. The rest of the members were the same, and only Nozomu and Mars weren't surprised by it.
"It's hard to say, but I think it's possible."
"For now, let's move to another location. We have to move because we just had a flashy confrontation with Anri-sensei in this place..."
Mars and Nozomu calmly assessed the situation, and they tried to move to another location. The special training wasn't over yet. The ranks of the fighting parties from now on would rise all at once. The incompetent parties will be defeated leaving only those with solid abilities.
"I'm done here so I'm going back to headquarters. Nozomu, thank you."
"I should be the one thanking you. If Deck and Hamria hadn't rushed in, we would have been defeated."
Nozomu and Deck bump each other's fists. It was the moment when Nozomu was united in trust.
"By the way, Nozomu-kun. That's... umm~."
"Hmm? What's wrong Anri-sensei?"
Anri suddenly stopped Nozomu who were about to bid farewell. Her face was red with embarrassment. Moreover, for some reason, she was holding onto her skirt while fidgeting.
"It was about something earlier~.... Did you see it?"
The skirt that Anri was holding. When he saw it, a scene reappeared in Nozomu's mind. The white and dazzling skin that could be seen inside the skirt fluttered gently in the air. Her slender and smooth legs. And a cute pink cloth.
Nozomu's face suddenly turned red due to the things that came back to his mind. With that alone, Anri understood everything.
"So you saw it~! My...my...!!"
Anri started to get flustered with her face brighter than Nozomu. She was so embarrassed that she swung her hands around like a child, and steam was rising from her head.
"W-, w-, what should I do~! I haven't shown it to anyone yet~! I've decided that I'll only show it to the person who will become my husband~~!"
"... Nozomu, what on earth were you doing to gain time?"
"What's with that eyes! That's not it! I was fighting to earn time !!"
Suddenly receiving such ridiculous words that came out of Anri's mouth, Mars glared at Nozomu.
For Nozomu, it was an unexpected accident during the battle, but due to the atmosphere dropping at an unreasonable speed, it made his voice unintentionally loud. However, it only deepened the misunderstanding even more.
"W-what should I do~!! If it's like this then, Nozomu-kun has to take responsibility~!!"
"Wait! Why did sensei say something like that!!"
In the end, Anri even came up with disturbing words, "take responsibility." Nozomu finally got cold stares from Jin and the others.
"I-I'm so enviou- ... N-no, what a rude guy! ... but, what color was it?"
"...E-even I can only see such things in my dreams..."
Somehow, Tommy and Deck's gaze began to exude bloodlust.
However, it was somewhat mixed with their desire, jealousy, and delusions that shouldn't be leaked.
"It's a misunderstanding !!"
Nozomu's scream echoed in the forest. He desperately explained that it was an accident to clear up the misunderstanding, but he ended up spending more than 30 minutes trying to resolve the misunderstanding.
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