Chapter 5: Solretta
Section 5: Fighting Style
“So, how was it? Were you able to get a good feel for our abilities?”
Toslin picked up a pitcher and poured herself a glass of water. She then downed the entire glass in one gulp before setting the cup back on the table. Carol was sitting down on a bed flutter kicking her legs off the side while Rose-san stood by the window, watching Hadion over her shoulder. As for me, I was the only one here who didn’t do anything, so I sat on the couch and hugged my knees unable to enter the conversation.
“Yes, I saw more than enough.”
Ah, right. When we returned to the inn, each of us took turns taking a bath. Hadion was the last one to get in, but because of how long each of us spent in there, the sun had already begun to set.
“Hm? Oi oi…….”
“Eh, hey what are you doing Hadion?”
Toslin and Carol both opened their eyes wide in surprise. I think, I might be doing the same thing though. And that was because Hadion abruptly started bowing to everyone. She’s knelt to me before, but never has she done anything like this to Toslin or the others. Honestly her attitude towards other people was usually pretty haughty, so it wouldn’t be weird for others to see her as a little arrogant. And that Hadion was now currently bowing her head.
“To be honest, I was looking down on all of you. I had thought that was the most you had to offer. But after exchanging blows with all of you, I keenly realize I must change my way of thinking. Please accept my apologies for how little I have made of your abilities.”
“…..please raise your head. We do not require an apology.”
Rose-san was unable to hide her bewilderment at Hadion’s sudden change just like the rest of us. Her pink-tinted flushed body still being cooled off by the night breeze traveling through the window, she shook her head at Hadion’s concession and responded as such.
“She’s right. It’s a fact that you really are stronger than us, so there’s no need to apologize.”
“I wasn’t able to hit you a single time you know.”
“That was because I completely focused my attention on your movements. Werewolf maiden, your agile movements were stunning. And elf maiden, those powerful blows from those stout arms of yours, indeed, it would definitely be enough to break a golem.”
“Fufu, Hadion has also recognized Toslin’s absurd physical strength, so now the theory of her true orc heritage is becoming more and more…….”
For the first time in a while, Toslin’s fist came down on Carol’s head.
“Fu…..you two really are good friends.”
But thanks to that, the tense air that had hung around since before this evening had even started finally began to break apart. Perhaps Carol had noticed that feeling, so she made the joke on purpose?
“Yes, Toslin may claim they have an ‘unfortunately inseparable’ relationship, but you cannot see that anywhere in how they act.”
Rose-san and Hadion exchanged a glance, and Rose-san covered her mouth as she began to giggle. This is the first time Rose-san has turned one of her smiles towards Hadion.
“And the gallant maiden. Your technique was wonderful. That moment when your mace hit my shield, it enraptured me as if time had suddenly stood still.”
“……you honor me with your praise.”
Rose-san grabbed the hem of her robe and did a small curtsy. Her movements were so fluid, carrying the elegance of a daughter from a noble family. If you were to only have seen her as she is right now, you would have never thought that she was the cause of all those dents, cracks, and tears in the shield that’s currently leaning against the wall.
“I can’t use this shield anymore. I just bought it, and it’s already taken quite the beating.”
“Well when someone continuously uses their full strength to bang against it……yeah, now that I think about it, wasn’t Rose and Hadion’s fight a lot more tense than what ours was?”
Speaking of which, Toslin and Carol were talking about that earlier when Rose-san and Hadion were going at it. It was like the two of them could tell what the other was going to do next.
“It might’ve just been my imagination, but it looked like your two’s movements were mirroring off of each other.”
Hadion nodded her head at Toslin’s words as she remembered the fight. And then walking over, she took a seat on the couch right next to me.
“It wasn’t just your imagination. We really were moving in a similar fashion. So since we already knew how the other was going to move, we were able to dial up the fight a bit.”
“Eh, what do you mean? The same movements…….why would you go out of your way to do that?”
I, having zero knowledge on swordsmanship, asked the natural question, and Hadion answered with a reserved look on her face. Until recently she had always looked so serious I didn’t think she would even want to join us in the bath.
“I didn’t go out of my way. It happened naturally. I may be a knight and she may be a priestess, but our fighting styles come from the same well.”
“My style of fighting comes straight from the sacred teachings of the Illyan warrior priestess knight corps which has been handed down for a thousand years. The progenitor of these methods was said to be the strongest, the Goddess Knight………”
“Eh, then perhaps that Goddess Knight is…….”
“Yes, ’tis I o wise maiden. Before I fell to darkness and became known as the Dark Violet Knight, I was known by that name.”
“Seriously. If that’s true then it was like a fight between a teacher and their disciple. Of course their moves were similar.”
“It’s amazing that these techniques have been passed down for a thousand years now.”
It really is amazing just as Carol says. The very fact that they’ve continued to thrive for this long means that after all this time, they have yet to lose their worth even as the world continues to change. But, it’s because of that very fact that one question needs to be asked.
“………why did you betray the Goddess?”
And Rose-san was the one to ask it. Why would the strongest knight of an age betray the Goddess and turn their blade against humanity? It’s always been a mystery, and not a single history book I’ve ever read has any clue to its answer.
“The reason for my betrayal……”
But the answer is standing right before us. A person who knows the truth to a mystery that has lived on for a thousand years.
Each of us held our breaths and quietly waited for what Hadion would say next.