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A note from dotturndot

There won't be anything about Curtis for a good number of chapters after this.

Her attacks left afterimages, where one blade would appear another would strike in a converse direction.

By pure attacking speed alone, Tia won. Will knew his reflexes had their limits, so he was pushed backed to gain a foothold. Her attacks repeated with Will slowly backing away.

To the spectators, what they saw was Will retreating, Tia gaining the upper hand.

The chain attacks continued. As he was about to reach the edge of the field, he suddenly vanished.

{Distort Presence}

Tia swung her dagger to the left by instinct and there, it clashed.

“Nice reaction” and Will jumped backwards.

Tia stood there amiss.

That entire time, Tia knew she wasn’t the one with the upper hand, it was the contrary. She held the disadvantage. Tia could tell Will was someone who had an incredibly vast experience just by exchanging blades. When she used {Chain Blitz} she didn’t expect him to always be out of range. He asserted just barely enough distance every time where she’d have to extend too much forward, leaving her in a vulnerable state. She could not connect her attacks consistently. Short arms were a disadvantage.

“What do you think?” Louise placed herself between the crowd

“You,” With Greene’s response, “P..Princess.”

Princess Louise, standing beside Greene with a galant smile on her face.

Tia was oblivious to the happenings in the crowd, her mind occupied with the thought to create a breakthrough. Usually, it would be the opposing party that initiated their attacks on Tia, but against Will, this notion was reversed. He stood there, calmly waiting.

Tia pondered if the match would’ve been already over if he fought seriously.

‘I’ll have to take advantage of his jesting.’

The disparity between them was obvious.

‘Even fighting Hermit wasn’t this difficult.’

Tia placed her foot out front, propelling herself at Will.

Will held the dagger close to his chest and lowered his stance.

Just the chance she had been waiting for.

Tia’s figure suddenly distorted, disappeared.

{Side-step}

In the next second, she appeared behind Will mid-air, about to strike him from behind. Her killing intent overflowing. Somehow, a part of her felt that he could survive this.

{Distort Presence}

Tia sliced thin air.

It was just like the time she had fought with Curtis. Except that the control over his own presence was superior.

‘HOw can i mAke this guy accept the invitation to make cookies!’

Tia thought that her desperation was causing her to become weirder and weirder.

The moment her foot touched the ground, her figure disappeared again. Blades clashed unceasingly were two figures seem to flash in and out of existence.

{Fleeting-steps}

The crowd broke into cheers.

Mainly due to the fact that they were watching two experts battle at an intensity most people couldn’t even keep up with.

Greene glanced at Princes Louise for a moment and could only lower her head. Greene was truly not a match against the Princess[ instructor, not to mention Tia. At the same time, she was amazed by their display of abilities that transcended boundaries.

Every time Tia directed her blade at him, before her dagger sunk into his flesh, she knew she’d always hit nothing or parry his attack. Whenever she was close to hitting the real Will, his dagger would naturally snake over and counter the attack. Knowing that she would miss the chance half the time, she grew wary. In this situation, the best defense was the best offense.

{Distort Presence}

Will felt a tinge of regret, having forced himself to only use three spells. By Tia’s constant assault, WiIl almost used ice magic by instinct.

Constantly changing footing, like a waltz, pacing around the stage with this little girl. It was amazing when he thought about it. Her capability to move around at a speed where his perception wasn’t able to keep up visually. It had been a long time since Will had to rely on pure instinct to dodge fatal blows, though, he could tell Tia was aiming at non-fatal parts.

‘Looks like I have to change my opinion of her.’

He couldn’t break out of the encirclement, and could only rely on {Distort Presence} to fend his way through. He also knew that Tia wouldn’t be able to keep this up for long, he could feel the strength contained in each of her strike becoming inconsistent. Fatigue was creeping in.

It was a race against time, Will wondered what tricks she had up her sleeve. If not, he was sure she wouldn’t be able to break his defense.

Tia was running out of energy and focus. What was one more thing she could do that wouldn’t incur more of her stamina? What could break the stalemate? What could she do to surprise the opponent?

A memory of her fight against Ellis flashed in her mind.

A memory of the prototype fusion crystal Curtis installed in her dummy dagger.

‘Will said that the dagger is a magic equipment.’

Which meant that.

Tia calculated the right moment where she would hit his dagger and not his shadow, the exact moment where the blades would crash into each other.

{Wind COmpRession BurSt}

There was a clean sound of an explosion.

Clack.

The crowd held their breaths.

Will’s dagger flew into the air.

Tia’s dagger thrust towards Will’s neck.

A hand held Tia’s wrist.

His illusion shatter.

Tia’s wrist was pressed and twisted. Her face contorted in pain as she dropped the dagger.

A lower kick was directed behind her knee cap and she fell forward with one knee.

Will released her wrist, her wrist and she fell to the floor panting.

“Let’s call that a draw,” Will was impressed. If he had to say honestly. He lost his grimoire and was forced to use unarmed fighting techniques on her. If Tia thought about it more and didn't follow her assassin-like instincts to hold a dagger up someone’s throat, Will thought that he would’ve lost.

“No.. wait,” Tia chucked words in between her breaths.

She tried to stand to face Will but she felt her knee give in, she lost her balance and--

Will held her by her arm.

“Ah..” Louise’s smile twitched.

Will could feel the dangerous aura from the distance. He quickly put Tia down on the floor.

Her face was flushed, unsure if it was caused by adrenaline or embarrassment.

I mean, she was held by Will after all.

“Well then, should we consider this a win for both sides yes? Wouldn’t it be better that way? “ Louise clapped her hands and stepped forward, suddenly appeared beside Will.

“I agree,” Tia nodded, her head hanging low. “Wait, but your request..” When Tia looked up to meet Louise, she shuddered.

The crowd fell silent as they watched the situation unfolding in front of them.

Louise opened her mouth, but no sound came out. Even without any sound, Tia heard it, carried by the wind, “About your delineate.”

Tia swallowed her saliva.

“Then that concludes the bet. Right, my apologies for the intrusion Miss Greene. This student is quite excellent if I would say so myself,” Louise smiled.

“Uh..” Greene wanted to say that she was only holding the position temporarily but..

‘If it’s a compliment from a princess then heck, I’ll take it.’

“Tia, when does your training for today end?” Louise turned to Tia one last time.

“I..in the evening.”

“Then you’ll visit Ellis after this?”

“Maybe?” Ellis would be the one to come meet Tia, not the other way around.

“I hope so. Then we’ll take our leave first. As for the prerequisite of the bet, we’ll discuss it again when we have time, will that be fine?“ Louise’ tone was one Tia couldn’t go against,“ Thank you for your time then,”

Tia let out a sigh, two seconds longer than her normal one— seeing as her dream guy drift further and further away from her.

Louise and Will walked away, moving into the streets.

“She’d probably be a good opponent for you,” Will commented.

“Of course she would,” Louise hit Will’s back with her kitten paws, “You noticed right! She too.. She’s just like that Princess Juliet!” she growled.

Will shook his head. Whatever Louise was saying, he knew there was only one spot in his heart.

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A note from dotturndot

Writing is lonely isn't it~~ ah. I've been reading 'The Shield Hero', the light novel. I think my favorite part about it is the loosely done slice of life. Ah, writing about a peddler is nice~


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