Tl note: hello, guess I need to apologize again. Currently things look promising translation-wise, but my schedule is so filled that I barely have time to sleep. I’m trying my hardest to keep up with all my projects and I really hope I’ll bring good news soon.
Unluckily, I only have bad ones today: five days ago, on the eight of April, my adorable proofreader’s father left this world. I managed to attend his funeral and, as you can guess, it’s been quite heavy and hard. May he rest in peace.
I always hope people endure this kind of pain as few times as possible. I fail to wrap my head around such complex feelings. After all I can do to support who’s been left behind is over, I can only pray for them to accept their loss and keep on living as they deserve to.
The clash between the Light Blade and the magic sword
There was a training ground in the Magic Academy used for offensive magic’s training.
That day my bar was closed and I had promised Cody to meet her, so there I was.
We didn’t use wooden swords to practice, but our personal ones. My Healing Magic could close bruises and small cuts in a jiffy, so we were sparring seriously.
Cody had summoned her spirit sword ‘Light Blade’ and slashed through the air with an impossible speed.
I was holding a simple steel sword I had enhanced with magic. It could now block Cody’s attacks without being cut like butter, but its blade could still be chipped here and there when I blocked massive blows. The Light Blade was simply too hard, there was no way to counter it completely for me. It also exponentially improved Cody’s movement speed, and it was thanks to that combined with my Support Magic that we managed to defeat Verlaine, the former Demon Lord.
In front of her throne, she grooved a magic circle which massively boosted her defence, and we managed to win only once we cut her magic power away, so that she couldn’t keep it up any more. I vividly remember Cody swinging her sword in a storm of slashes and thrustes.
I used my Limiter Removal and yet she’s keeping up to me…?! This girl is scary…!
“You’re wide open, Dick!”
Sensing that my sword was at its limit, she tried to smash it with her next attack.
“Spirit Blade – Attack Rise!”
I acted in a split second: I injected magic power in my sword. A magic blade sprout out of it to mitigate Cody’s attack and then I slashed her as hard as I could. Normally, a sword this enhanced would be extremely hard and sharp, and although it was badly damaged, a hard blow like this would’ve been intense for everyone… but not for Cody.
“Laguna – Blade Wall!”
I only had the time to click my tongue.
The Light Blade moved on its own the moment it heard its wielder’s command and changed its shape into a wall of blades.
That was bad. Since that weapon’s range was as far as the wielder could see, I could be hit by countless bullets or stray slashes right now.
As expected, the very next moment a storm of lightning-speed attacks went after me. Luckily, the Light Blade’s attacks couldn’t change their direction, so I could manage if I guessed which every one of them landed.
I tried my best at dodging and blocking, but in the end, my sword snapped. I was amazed about how long that simple sword endured the Light Blade’s blows. There wasn’t a weapon in the world that could stand them, I was even more convinced of it. If I hadn’t enhanced my sword with all I had, it would’ve snapped at the first clash.
However, our match wasn’t settled yet. I could make up for this broken sword.
Trying to compress as much magic power as I could, I saw what happened.
“I got you, Dick!”
Spirit Blade Materialize!
“What the…! You brought that broken sword back?!”
“Actually, I just made it…!”
This was totally different from the blade Cody had just chopped. I felt confident enough to strike back, so I went on the offensive.
To pump up the output of my attack as much as I could, I stroke with all my strength, aiming to being parried. That way, Cody would need to use a huge lot of her magic power to counter me, and maybe it wouldn’t have been enough. If we kept this up, it would turn into a matter of endurance—the one who exhausted their magic power first would lose.
I could see a smile on Cody’s face and I felt my lips stretched too. We kept analyzing each other at inhuman speed, knowing that a single misstep would have resulted in a fatal wound, and yet having a foe at our level was just too much fun.
Cody kept blocking my assault, then her sword’s trajectory became slightly sloppy, showing that I was throwing her off balance. Her eyes were speaking for her—Go easy on me and I’ll never forgive you.
As she wished, I was merciless and pressed the attack, taking advantage of her condition.
I hit hard with my sword and now that it was this enhanced, it dealt heavy blows. All Cody could do was defend, but it was tiring even for her, and then I went all out: I used more magic power and attacked her with sixteen slashes, all from different directions.
In an instant, she held her ground and had a huge amount of magical power flow into her weapon, which exploded and slashed automatically at me to block all the attacks. However, she could only mitigate the damage I dealt her, which ripped her clothes.
After her impressive wall of defence withstood fifteen slashes, she noticed an instant too late that a sixteenth was approaching her from behind. That would’ve been the first clean hit on her, which would’ve brought our sparring session to an end.
It all happened in a split second: she squeezed all her magic power in her muscles to dodge that last attack, and for an instant, her body almost looked like it had been cut down, but luckily the slash’s trail only cut more of her clothes as I charged beyond her. That gave Cody enough time to regain her stance and look for a new chance to attack.
Keeping up a fight like that was exhausting for both of us.
Looking at her, I hesitated for an instant, and my focus faltered. The blade I compressed over my broken sword disappeared, and taking the chance, Cody pointed her Light Blade at my throat before I had time to do anything else.
“That… that was unlucky. I don’t know if I can call this a win, but can I…?”
“Well, yes, it’s 1-0 for you. I overdid it and this is the result.”
I had yet to gain full control on the modified magic blade. The moment I lost focus on it, it disappeared, so keeping it up for long time was very hard.
It was a coincidence that I managed to make up for the broken blade like that and I made sure there was no way to land a clean hit on Cody as long as she had even the slightest chance to avoid, parry or block.
Cody had always been rigid with herself, especially when it came to training, so I didn’t know if she would’ve accepted my last comment about my performance just now… then she smiled, put her Light Blade away and canceled the spirit blade’s summon.
The next moment, she grabbed a towel.
“It’s been a while since I last received a serious blow… now I finally remember that feeling. Losing comes when you feel like this, huh?”
“Not like I could win against your Light Blade, though. I always keep my body enhanced too, but that doesn’t even make a difference against you, Cody.”
“That’s because your spirit blade brought the best out of me. Withstanding that many heavy blows means keeping all your focus on the sword. Looks like we still have room to improve.”
She talked while drying her sweaty skin and hair. Her bangs looked like glued to her forehead during our fight.
A drop ran down her cheek, then fell on her bosom, tracing the soft curve of her breast, and leaving a wet, hot trail down her tummy, which were now almost entirely exposed. I doubted my eyes.
“What are you looking at, Dick…?”
Cody looked down and saw it herself.
Her last dodge saved her body, but not her clothes, which were sliced down almost to her crotch. Even the chest binding cloth she wore had been cut, letting me see her bare, soft skin.
She hurriedly hid herself with her hands as best as she could, then turned her back to me.
“S-Sorry… I was so absorbed in our sparring that I didn’t notice my clothes were like this…”
“N-No, don’t be… I’m the one who should apologize here…”
That left me taken aback too. I had no idea chest binding could help someone hide so much of their body. That was amazing.
I thought Cody was almost flat, that’s how she managed to hide her breasts so well, but now I was sure that was pie in the sky. Without that cloth, I felt like my eyes had been forced open to re-evaluate how aware I was of her.
O-Oh my… I’m sorry, Cody, I know I shouldn’t think like this, but… damn, me, keep yourself together! There’s something more important than this right now.
No matter how good I’ve been in our sparring, I had to take responsibility for reducing her clothes like that. Even her back was very visible, as the gash on her clothes ran from her shoulder to half-way her back, framing her white, beautiful skin. I did attack her from sixteen directions, so that was a possible and not dramatic outcome.
I grabbed the towel I should’ve dried myself up with and placed it on Cody’s shoulder.
“T-Thank you, Dick… but isn’t this yours? Won’t you use it?”
“Don’t worry, I brought two today. The other one is in my locker. I’ll dry myself up later.”
She took it timidly and started to help herself, then slowed down.
“This smells totally different from mine… you use a nice soap or is this just how good your house smells?”
“What are you saying, Cody…? I won’t deny that smells like home for me, but still…”
Her comment was so unexpected that it made me smile. I didn’t know she was the kind of girl who would mind stuff like that. She glanced at me and smiled back while she dried her neck.
Cody kept her hair a little shorter than her shoulders, except for a long pigtail tied behind her back. Her mother loved that peculiar cut, that’s why she’d always stuck to it.
When she rose her pigtail to wipe her neck, her white nape stole my breath for a moment. My brain was sending me too many a signal that told me how feminine Cody was, which led me feeling like a disgusting animal, so I looked away from her.
“I’m glad you didn’t hold back, Dick.”
“Well, you’re not a foe I can just hold back against. A wrong step and I’d be dead.”
“Hahaha! I thought some blows we exchanged were a bit too risky, yes. Your last attack was the end of my clothes.”
I was glad she avoided my assault. If anything happened, I could’ve healed her right away, and I was sure I could’ve saved her even if the injury was grave, but luckily that was nothing. I was also confident any minor injury wouldn’t have even left any scars or marks behind, but yeah, prevention is better than cure.
“You know, I’m somewhat bitter, though. I thought no weapon could stand Laguna… I kept trying circling around you and attack from behind, but your blows were just too heavy. If I tried to move too much, I wouldn’t have withstood them.”
“I researched a lot to improve weapons as much as I can, but there’s still a limit they all hit.”
“You mean the magic blades? I think you can polish them so much they’ll manage to rival my Light Blade. I’ll try my best not to be left behind.”
Cody pulled out her chest binding cloth while speaking and managed to make up for it with my towel. It was big enough to cover her, as she tied its extremities together.
When she turned around, her bosom was pushed under it, peeking a bit from above.
“I feel my skin burning a bit here and there… it looks like I have quite a lot of small cuts and bruises around. Even your last slash left a shallow cut behind…”
“I-Is that so…? I’m very sorry, Cody. Would you hate it if I healed you?”
She probably didn’t want to show me much of her body, especially now that I knew she was a girl.
However, she had changed and looked a little less reserved about it, since she wasn’t trying to cover her belly. She hadn’t been tense because our abs were divided differently, but probably because our very bodies were different, given our genders.
There was no way for a girl or a boy to replicate the other sex’s hips’ width.
“Well… can you help me with a few ones? But don’t look too much, please. I need you to close them up before I take a bath, or they’d sting.”
I honestly thought that was a bold request, but she was asking my help for once. The shallow red cut that ran from her belly to her partially covered chest was now clearly visible.
Then, my mind went completely blank. I felt a huge wave of regret splashing inside me.
She was blushing, her hot and moist body fidgeting ever so slightly. That was the General of the army, but looking at her now, she simply was a girl.
How could I face her properly now that I hurt her?
I did as she asked: I extended my hand not looking at her, my palm facing the reddened parts on her skin.
“I won’t look at you. Heal…”
“Dee, you should look at what you’re healing. Should I do that for you?”
Teacher’s voice reached me from the side as I was about to start healing Cody.
What the heck, where did she come from?!
“Huuuh… w-when did you get here? Did you use Transfer Magic…?”
“You said you were going to spar with the Light Blade’s owner, and you also suggested me to drop by later since we have stuff to do, didn’t you? I literally did as you asked… but am I interrupting something?”
“N-No, not at all! Thank you for your consideration, Mrs. Teacher, I’ll gladly accept your suggestion.”
Cody switched to her formal way of speaking and accepted Teacher’s treatment.
She cast Recover Light on her hand and just traced all the cuts and bruises she saw, which closed and healed the very moment she passed over them with her fingers.
“This should do. Dee, I see you didn’t hold back. That’s great, you did well.”
“Thank you, I’m honored. We decided we couldn’t hold back, otherwise sparring wouldn’t make sense.”
“I didn’t think I would win against Dick, but I’m glad to confirm I’m still up to him. I’ll keep up with my training as I look forward to our next sparring session.”
Seeing her working so hard always helped me feeling at ease with myself.
I kept feeling unease about my lack of perception of how much ahead I could be than other people. I hated that moment when I turned around and I was alone, leagues ahead of everyone else.
“Dee, getting into the expedition party surely changed you in better. You look much more at ease now than in the old days.”
“P-Please… spare me embarrassing comments like that…”
“Hahaha! Dick, you’re so stiff when you talk to your teacher! How funny!”
Cody dropped her formality and got back to being the girl she used to be with me. Having so much to see about her made me realize I wasn’t looking at her the same way I did up to that moment.
And yet, my mind drifted away from that.
Teacher had to turn herself in and be judged by the court. That was all that could fill my mind right now.
“Teacher, it’s time. Wait here, I’m getting some spare clothes.”
“Okay. Don’t worry, I won’t run away.”
She didn’t wear the same clothes she had when we fought at White Capricorn’s. She was now clad in Verlaine’s monochrome dress and was behaving very meekly, as if showing that she really was aware of being a sinner.
Other people connected to her and I had to attend her trial. I thought they probably wouldn’t have one-sidedly judged her a sinner and executed her on the spot, but she sure was at risk of being arrested and tossed to jail.
Cody watched over us with a humble look on her face, then turned around and went to change her clothes. I needed to calm the excitement I was still feeling about the training, so I walked to my locker room and readied myself for what had to come.