“Very well. I’ll show you. My special move, Dance of the Phantom Steps, that is!”
As Rizil declared that, he started moving with peculiar steps.
While moving left and right on the spot just as if he was dancing, he moved with mysterious movements that seemed slow yet were fast, and while he seemed to be moving fast, he was taking his time.
With those elusive movements, one could not predict what the next move would be, and perhaps because they induced optical illusions, there were even times when Rizil seemed to multiply.
“That’s the Dance of the Phantom Steps!”
A boy from the Northern Dormitory who was watching shouted.
“The Dance of the Phantom Steps!?”
“Yeah, it’s Rizil’s trump card. Using steps utilizing a unique rhythm that seems to bewitch his opponent, he evades all kinds of attacks. Even though normally, one shouldn’t be able to perform such movements, but that guy is able to do it because he’s a genius……”
The boy had gone to the same dojo as Rizil. That’s why he had seen it before.
“I’ve also been done in by it once, but let alone the attack not hitting, you don’t even feel that it will hit.”
Just as he said, Gorms stood still in his place without even being able to attack.
Was it an attack that even that Gorms was unable to see……? It seemed like despair would rise in the hearts of the boys.
“Damn it! Gorms, do something somehow and win!!”
“He’s right. For now, at least do something! Attack him! Attack!”
In order to shake of the despair, they sent irresponsible but still nonetheless cheers towards Gorms’ back.
“They’re cheering for you, you know? Come on, are you sure it’s fine not to attack?”
While performing complicated steps that, if an ordinary person performed, they would trip, with a nonchalant expression, he said.
“I’ll say it just in case, even attacking randomly and aiming for a chance hit is useless. I’ll still perform these steps even if I was almost unconscious. Instantaneous evasion and changes of course are my forte.
And then there is this skill. Everyone seems to think that it’s for defense, but——“
Pausing for a bit, Rizil closed the distance between them in those steps that were bewitching to Gorms.
Present on his face was his usual sneer.
“It can also be used for attacking, you see!”
While maintaining his unpredictable movements, Rizil increased his speed, and while moving his body up, down, left, and right, he lunged his sword at every hit point.
That seemed as if four people were all attacking Gorms at the same time.
Gorms was continuously being forced to a defensive battle.
“Is it no good……?”
As to be expected, the faces of even the people of the Northern Dormitory turned pale.
Even Remie, who had displayed an impressive fight when it was his turn, was muttering a prayer as he watched the figure of Gorms, who was being one-sidedly done in.
“Gorms, do your best!”
While attacking unseen from every direction, Rizil laughed.
“In the end, you are someone who overwhelmed his small fry opponents with power! Skills! Talent! Perception! Speed! You just can’t hope of beating the genius me, who excels at almost everything!”
Going like this, it would be fine even if he let himself receive a warning once……
While thinking that, Rizil further altered the rhythm of the steps. This time, he erased his presence and silently sneaked up to him.
“I’ll finish you off right here!”
Attack him from the lower right side that has become a blind spot in the midst of defending against his attacks. Gorms could not capture his movements, and his line of sight did not follow him. He was going to completely and certainly settle it.
That sense of Rizil’s has never been 100% wrong.
Stepping forward, his leg drawing an arch as he intended, he moved to the blind spot in the lower right side, leaving his opponent’s line of sight behind. And then, Rizil released a fatal thrust——
—— or so it should have been. (TN: To make things clear just in case it is needed, generally in competitions, you shouldn’t aim to fatally injure your opponent. Doing so would result in a warning, and/or in some cases, loss due to a foul.)
Rizil stared at the wooden sword that was suddenly approaching right in front of his eyes.
Then using his reflexes he somehow moved his feet to the right and avoided that sword.
His steps were thrown into disarray due to the forced movement. He panicked and put a distance between them.
He had absolutely no idea what had just happened.
Strange. It should have been an attack aimed at a completely blind spot. He shouldn’t have been able to defend against it. Much less attacking him……
Still keeping the distance between them, Rizil stared dumbfounded at Gorms.
Rizil caught his eyes.
“What are you making such an astonished face for? We’re in a situation where we’re competing with our abilities, so I feinted with my eyes, and mislead my opponent. That’s simply just one of the basics of strategy.”
Gorms told Rizil in the same calm expression that he had when the match started.
“To be honest, I can’t see what the big deal is. About you, that is.”
Rizil felt enraged by Gorms’ words.
He was a genius recognized by those around him ever since he was small. Different from other people.
And yet, to be told that this wasn’t such a big deal……
Thinking, as if he would let this muscled idiot leave unharmed, he once more started performing the steps in order to attack.
Then, while moving right and left to bewilder his opponent, he made to slash at him.
However, Gorms’ wooden sword abruptly appeared in the direction he was advancing in. Rizil panicked and leapt backwards.
(Impossible…… Why do his attacks seem like they will hit!?)
Nothing like this has ever happened in his matches up till now…… No, it had happened once…… During the semifinals of the Orstoll Youth Swordsmanship Competition……
“It isn’t as if you have monster-like strength like Doug or anything. Carefully estimating your basic strength, it’s probably about on par with me. Yet, the way you fight is overly conceited. You haven’t observed your opponent or even strategized for the match sufficiently.”
While speaking, Gorms closed the distance between them and brandished his sword.
Rizil tried to avoid it using his usual steps. That alone should have been enough for his opponent’s attack to not hit him at all.
And yet, Gorms’ sword came swinging just right at the spot that Rizil had avoided it to.
Flustered, Rizil received that sword.
There should have been no way to catch sight of him. His movements…… And yet, why were the strikes coming as if Gorms knew where he was?
Gorms replied to that as if he was exasperated.
“Why? Did you think that just because I’m unable to hit you, I wouldn’t attack?
It’s the other way around. The one thing I was wary of was only your attacks. And that was because since my comrades passed over the matches to me, I absolutely couldn’t lose. As one would expect, I was nervous, you know? But I got to know that that as well was just enough to make me defend sufficiently.”
While closing in the distance between them, Gorms released his second attack. This one as well firmly swung down towards where Rizil was.
Sweating, Rizil desperately received that attack.
“If it’s about perceiving those movements, then I’ve been able to since the beginning. Once I didn’t have to worry about being defeated, then I could attack without holding anything back.”
As if to prove those words of Gorms, the strike that he had released accurately grasped the destination that Rizil was moving towards.
“Just to say, if it’s only dodging, then we have someone far better, you know? Though he’s an idiot who had lost due to a foul in a match being watched by the Knight Captains, and had to be taken away by the instructor.”
He didn’t really understand the meaning of the words Gorms had said.
However, Rizil desperately stuck out his wooden sword, and guarded against the attack that came swinging down accurately at the place he was at. Under the heavy attack, Rizil retreated a step.
No, Rizil was overwhelmed by Gorms’ attack, and was clearly trying to run away by himself.
And towards Rizil who was trying to run away, another strike was released by Gorms.
Rizil, who defended against it, threw the balance of the pivot leg he used for the steps off, and ended up creating a clear opening.
Seeing through the tendencies of the steps, aiming not at Rizil but at a location slightly off, Gorms swung his sword towards a location that if Rizil received the attack at, he would be thrown off balance.
Rizil, who was feeling shaken and had completely lost confidence in evading it, had guarded against even this attack whose trajectory would not hit, and his body was thrown off balance.
Gorms did not let go of that opening at all.
“My bad, Genius!”
Gorms’ face broke into a villain-like smile.
Contracting the muscles of his whole, rough, and large tree trunk-like body, at the exact moment Rizil had pulled out of defending, he nevertheless released his most powerful strike with his whole body.
“Cause you see, the Great Me is strong, you know!”
A strike aimed by Gorms with all his might was absorbed by Rizil’s body.
With just this single strike, Rizil’s body was sent away flying flashily with a bang.
Rizil, who had been blown away, had lost consciousness as he was, and did not get up.
After confirming that without letting his guard down, Gorms raised his swords to the heavens, and did a guts pose.
“The winner of this match, Gorms!”
Afterwards, the referee’s voice rang out, and not only the Northern Dormitory, but the whole venue erupted in cheers.
God, that last hit felt really, really satisfying.
That mushroom totally deserved it. Hopefully it properly deflated that huge ego of his. How would he like to be one of those “losers therefore weaklings” he looked down on so much, now?