The Two Dancing Blades

Chapter 3 - Bloodshed
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Chapter 3 - Bloodshed

“Mmm, delicious?”

Irene, leader of Beatrice and grand master of the Shooting Star Flower, enjoyed a brief moment of bliss.

She was devouring her favorite kind of baked sweet.

It might seem out of place for someone known as a cross-dressing beauty and a cold swordswoman, but she had a sweet tooth.

She could give off the elegant aura of royalty or nobility even when eating the most meager of meals, but her afternoon teatime was an exception.

It could be favorably interpreted as a way of consuming the nutrients needed to give her all the energy needed to work as a Master Swordswoman, but when she placed the teacake on her tongue, closed her eyes blissfully, placed a hand on her cheek, and savored the sweet harmony, the melted look on her face was very different from that of the noble Master Swordswoman. There was no way around the fact that she had a sweet tooth.

Millia, Beatrice’s #2 and the best student of the Shooting Star Flower who was currently away on a journey, did not dislike sweet things, but she did not understand why Irene was so obsessed with them.

After seeing that slack look on Irene’s face after eating an oh-so-sweet sugar cake, she had asked the following to the other girls:

“Maybe the only way to get an attack in on Irene is to aim for the instant she eats one of those cakes.”

The students of the Shooting Star Flower could not imagine their master ever being any more defenseless.

Millia had been tempted to try it a few times, but she had not had the courage to interrupt her master’s greatest joy. And she knew getting an attack in like that would feel empty, so she had never actually gone for it.

At any rate, this was just about Irene’s only time to relax during her hard work as a swordswoman and the leader of a village. A love of sweet foods, spicy foods, or whatever else did not affect her strength as a swordswoman or her skill as a leader, so she allowed herself this one indulgence.

“Hee hee.”

“What’s so funny, Irene?”

When she laughed out of the blue, the younger swordswoman accompanying her asked why.

“Nothing really. I was just thinking about Millia. When I had tea with her and served these sugar cakes, do you know what she said while shoving one in her mouth all at once?”

“No…”

“She would say she wanted a whole bucket full of them. Hee hee.”

“Hee hee. That does sound like her.”

Irene’s laughter was infectious and the student started as well.

“And she complained that they aren’t very filling, so she insisted she wanted a thick and sizzling steak.”

“Ah ha ha. I can picture it perfectly. That glutton always loved something that would fill her up more than something that tasted good.”

Irene frowned sadly as she watched her student laughing to the point of tears.

“It’s been a month since she left on her journey. I wonder what she’s doing right now and what kingdom she’s working in. If only she would send us a letter.”

“It’s only been a month. And they do say no news is good news. With her bright and cheerful personality, I bet people will adore her wherever she goes.”

“…Yes.”

Irene quietly agreed as if trying to convince herself of that. Just then, another student arrived with a letter.

“Lady Irene, I have a letter from Millia. Speak of the devil, I suppose.”

Irene greedily read through the letter from her cute student, but a shadow gradually fell over her beautiful face as she did so.

“I-Irene?”

Surprised by the sudden change in their grand master’s expression, the student swordswoman hesitantly spoke up. Irene said nothing and simply handed over the letter with a tremor in her hand. When the younger swordswoman read through it, she grew pale.

The letter said that Millia, student of the Shooting Star Flower, had been abducted by someone named Vloodvane.

“I-Irene, does this mean…?”

“Do you recognize the name Vloodvane?”

Since she had read the letter first, Irene managed to calm her racing pulse while the girl remained flustered.

“No…wait, yes. Wasn’t Vloodvane a Ralfint court mage a long time ago?”

“Yes, that is the only Vloodvane I can think of in this kingdom. A hundred twenty or more years ago, he supposedly had an intimate relationship with the queen and princess at the time, there were rumors he was the true father of the crown prince, and that sparked the civil war that has plagued Ralfint ever since. I had heard rumors he had obtained some kind of immortality magic, but it would seem he really is still alive.”

Irene kicked her chair back and stood up.

“I will not rest until I have brought death to all who make a mockery of my students’ strength.”

Irene, mater of the Shooting Flower School, was enraged, but her voice remained quiet. However, that only added to the intensity hiding below the surface.

Her black eyes were usually filled with such kindness, but they were now half lidded, a dark flame blazed within them, and a fierce smile appeared on her red lips.

Minor noble families had a powerful sense of camaraderie because they saw everyone around them as sharing the same fate. That tendency was especially strong in Beatrice.

There was nothing more frightening than a gentle and earnest person who was finally provoked into a fight.

This Vloodvane person might be immortal and he might be a legendary mage, but Irene’s students knew his fate was sealed.

Their master had a sweet tooth, but there was nothing sweet about her when she engaged an enemy.

Irene left the dining area without so much as a glance at what remained of the sugar cakes.

“…”

After Irene silently returned to her room, the first thing she did was roughly throw off all of her clothing.

Once naked, she pulled out the beloved sword she kept hidden and she unsheathed it.

The silver blade appeared with a refreshing sound.

Swords came in double-edged and single-edged varieties. This was a straight, double-edged sword and it was of rare quality. This was evidenced by both the shine of the blade and by the practical yet intricate design of the hilt and the scabbard. It was obvious at a glance this had been made by a master swordsmith.

The sword had been made by Jelcrinas, who was known as a master of the modern age. Royalty and nobility sought the swords he made and they rarely went up for sale in the marketplace, but when they did, they were bought for shockingly high prices. For that reason, they were often used as diplomatic gifts between kingdoms.

So why did Irene, the head of a minor rural family, have one of his swords? Jelcrinas, the creator of great treasures, was well over 70, yet he was a hopelessly dirty old man and he had gifted this sword to Irene after saying he was stricken by her sword technique and her beauty.

Irene well understood that swords were tools of death and sword-fighting techniques were designed to kill. She did not like glorifying such tools, but she could not deny this was an excellent sword.

It was named Raiment Render. It had supposedly received the name because a light breeze had blown some silk onto it while it was sitting out and it had sliced the garment in two. Rumor also had it that the silk garment in question had been Jelcrinas’s adult granddaughter’s underwear that the old lecher had stolen.

Whatever the truth might be, it was a sharp enough blade to cut at the slightest touch. And with an expert’s technique, its edge could be polished even further.

On the battlefield, heavy armor and large weapons did the talking, so it often came down to power rather than skill. However, you could not walk around everywhere with heavy armor and a large weapon. Ralfint in particular was a mountainous kingdom, so that heavy equipment was out of the question. So the use of sturdier but more cumbersome armor had died out and lighter armor had become more common. That made skill much more important.

That technique was often referred to as the art of war or martial arts. On the battlefield, it was only natural to use whatever tools would bring victory over the enemy. But as the level of martial arts on the battlefield and the difficulty of learning those arts grew, it was only natural for individual styles to be established. That had led to the creation of more specialized categories like archery, hand-to-hand, magic, and the ninja arts. The Shooting Star Flower was a major school of sword fighting. No one on the continent surpassed Irene in the use of the blade. She was confident of it.

After confirming the blade’s shine remained, Irene wordlessly swung it to confirm how it felt and then sheathed it once more.

She approached her clothes dresser in the nude, pulled out some dark blue stockings, and put them on her right and then left leg. She put a sleeveless and skintight dark blue bodysuit on her upper body, attached the stockings to the garter belts extending from that, and then put on her dark blue panties. After that, she put on a knee-length pareo with a bold slit on either side to help her move her legs. She wore a leather chest protector over the bodysuit and put on a necklace with a red magic jewel that hung at her chest. She put on long, thin gloves that reached her upper arms and added gauntlets on top of them. After tying a crimson scarf around her hips, she used it to wear Raiment Render and a broad, short stabbing weapon as a side blade. She put on a black cape and finally tied back her long black hair.

Now that she was dressed for a journey, Irene was no longer the kind older sister figure for the swordswomen of Beatrice. She was undoubtedly the Sword Dancer who had earned the title of Master Swordswoman and whose skill was worth a fortune.

“How many times has Millia cum since last night?”

When Vloodvane entered the room, he was met by an oppressively strong feminine scent.

Millia had her legs forcibly spread, drool dripping from her mouth, and her eyes rolled back in her head. She had a thick dildo in both her vagina and ass.

“Let’s see… About ten times, I think.”

Glinda had been mercilessly moving the dildos shoved inside of Millia and she had beads of sweat across her body, but she counted on her fingers to answer Vloodvane’s question.

“You’re as tough as ever when breaking someone, Glinda. Ten times overnight? She really does have the strength of a swordswoman. A normal woman would have passed out long ago. Ahh, ahh. And look all this piss on the floor.”

“Of course I am tough. This is how I show my love for you, Master Vloodvane.”

Vloovane showed some sympathy for Millia, but Glinda was only interested in gathering his attention for herself.

“Also, it’s crazy how easy it is to make this girl cum. I’m having so much fun because she’s perfect for teasing and training. Here, I will show you what I have accomplished.”

Glinda whispered in Millia’s ear and the girl must have lost all will to resist. She did as told by kneeling in front of Vloodvane, looking up at him with terror in her eyes, and speaking in a nearly inaudible voice.

“…Please let me pleasure you with my mouth before you put it in my dirty pussy…”

When Vloodvane pulled his dick out, it was half-flaccid. Millia was a little unsure what to do since she had only seen it in its fully erect form, so Glinda gently prompted her to continue.

“Now, take it in your hands and then into your mouth.”

Millia had the look of a frightened puppy, but she hesitantly reached out her hands, grabbed the base of the half-flaccid thing between them, and reluctantly placed her lips around it. Once inside her mouth, it grew in volume and hardness until it no longer fit.

She seemed surprised by the penis’s dramatic change and she started licking it, but Glinda wrinkled her brow more and more as she watched. Finally, the woman grabbed the girl’s golden hair and pulled her away.

“What in the world are you doing!? Do you not know how to pleasure a man? What kind of worthless education did you have? …This is how you suck a dick.”

Glinda kneeled in Millia’s place, carefully wrapped her hands around the shaft, placed her red lips on the balls, and toyed with them. She slowly moved her lips up the shaft, traced her tongue along the ridge at the bottom of the head, and coated the entire thing with her saliva before taking the tip into her mouth. With an obscenely wet sound, she sucked on it like it was the most delicious thing in the world.

The intensity of the blowjob made it clear she had wanted to take over from the beginning.

While Millia watched in a daze, Glinda finally looked up, released a heated sigh, and spoke to the girl again.

“Sigh… That is how you should treat a man’s cock. Now, do it yourself.”

The erection seemed even larger now that it was glistening with Glinda’s saliva, but Millia had no choice but to move her face toward it again and attempt to reproduce what Glinda had done.

“Your actions need to show him your love. Yes, lick it with your entire tongue and not just the tip.”

While supervising Millia’s blowjob, Glinda reached toward the girl’s butt and placed some fingers on her labia.

“Eek!”

Millia spat the penis out in shock.

“You really are an awkward girl, aren’t you? …Oh, I know. You have such wonderful tits, so use those to pleasure it.”

Glinda embraced Millia from behind, grabbed the girl’s breasts, and had her straighten up while still on her knees.

Fearing for her life, Millia had no choice but to grab her own breasts and place Vloodvane’s massive rod between them.

She did her best to massage the round flesh in a way that would pleasure Vloodvane.

“Hee hee. I’m jealous. Only girls with ridiculously big tits can give titjobs. I couldn’t manage it myself. Now, he will grow bored if that is all you do. Stick out your tongue and lick the tip. You can do that, can’t you?”

Millia stuck out her tongue as told and licked the precum-leaking tip while continuing the titjob.

“Ah.”

“Hee hee. Did you hear that? He’s enjoying it. Look at Master Vloodvane squirm. Remember that spot because it is a man’s weak point. Now, take the tip into your mouth and suck on it.”

Millia once more did as she was told by taking the penis head into her small mouth and sucking on it. She of course continued to use her breasts to massage the entire thing.

All of a sudden, she felt the penis throbbing between her breasts.

“Nhh!”

It exploded in the back of her throat. This was a new experience for her, so she ended up swallowing the first shot in surprise.

So much of the liquid filled her mouth that she started to suffocate and she had no choice but to continue swallowing on reflex.

(Ew, I swallowed it. It’s so gross.)

Once released, Millia fell on all fours and gagged.

“Oh, what a waste.”

Glinda forced Millia’s face back up and licked all the semen off of it. Then she looked to Vloodvane.

That mage claimed to be older than a hundred, but whatever magic had him looking so young must have also returned his semen production to that of a teenage boy. Even after cumming once, he remained hard and erect.

Satisfied by the sight, Glinda pushed Millia down and had her stick her butt out.

“How about it? Would you like a taste of this as well?”

Glinda spread Millia’s butt to reveal an anus soaked with love juices and pee. She stuck her middle finger inside and stirred it up.

“…”

Millia could not even react at this point.

Glinda stuck her other middle finger inside and spread the hole wide.

“Look how soft and flexible it is.”

“Wah, ahh.”

Millia’s breathing grew heavy as her anus was spread wide and then Vloodvane penetrated it with his thick cock.

“Ah, ahh…ah, ah.”

Thanks to Glinda’s work with the dildo, Millia’s anus easily swallowed Vloodvane’s massive member and her healthy body twitched each time he moved in and out of her.

“Hee hee. Well, Millia? Does it feel good when Master Vloodvane fucks you in your filthy asshole?”

“Ah…y-yes, i-it does…ah, i-it feels good…!”

Millia drooled as she lay on the ground and tried to bear with it.

“Hee hee. So you’re finally being honest. Good girl. And a good girl needs to be rewarded. I will give you even more pleasure. With this.”

Millia looked up to see Glinda had stripped naked at some point and she had an artificial penis growing from her crotch.

Realizing what his apprentice intended to do, Vloodvane grabbed the back of Millia’s thighs and picked her up with his penis still in her ass.

Millia was held up like a little girl being asked to pee, except she had her anus penetrated.

“Pant, pant, ah, pant…”

That position pushed him even deeper inside her, so she took deep breaths and awaited Glinda with her nipples erect and trembling.

“Here I come.”

Glinda placed the tip of her strap-on against Millia’s urine-soaked labia and then pushed it inside.

“Ah, ahhh!”

Tears spilled from Millia’s widened eyes.

She now had a biological penis inside her rear hole and a fake one inside her front hole and they rubbed against each other through the thin wall of flesh between.

“Ahh…yes, incredible…ahh, Master Vloodvane, Lady Glinda…it’s too good!”

The sexual pleasure was so great that Millia had to clench her teeth to bear with it, but she could not keep her mouth shut as moans escaped the back of her throat and drool dripped out.

“Ahh, ahh, ahh, ahhh!!”

Vloodvane suddenly ejaculated inside her ass. She could feel the warm liquid being pumped inside her. That was a sensation she had not felt with the dildos from before, so it surprised her enough that she finally climaxed again.

A warm liquid flowed down the witch and mage’s lower bodies.

“Oh, dear. Millia, you just came again, didn’t you? That makes 11 times. Oh, and you wet yourself again too.”

“Pant, pant, pant…”

Millia’s arms and legs were convulsing while a completely broken expression appeared on her face, so Glinda lovingly embraced her, lewdly stuck out her tongue, and licked all over the girl’s face.

“Hee hee. You’re so cute. So, so cute. I’ve never seen a more adorable girl.”

“Hand over all your money if you want to live.”

The gentle farm fields eventually transformed into a thick forest with no sign of human life.

The Ralfint Kingdom was known as one of the least safe on the continent, so the people you met on a path like this tended to be of the unsavory sort.

After leaving on a journey to rescue her student, Irene ran across the most stereotypical of that unsavory sort: bandits.

She was dressed like a swordswoman, but they must have thought they could deal with a woman traveling alone. When traveling alone, a lot of women would dress up as warriors to scare potential attackers away.

For example, if someone was dressed like Millia, people would assume they had some combat training, even if they were not particularly skilled.

And while Irene’s dark black eyes did give her a determined look, she could seem too beautiful and graceful to be a warrior. There was reason to suspect she might be some ordinary lady simply dressed up as a swordswoman. She did not look like a seasoned warrior, so it looked more like a cheap disguise.

And in fact, viewing Irene as no more than an unrefined swordswoman would not end well for you either. If she put on a nice dress, the look in her eyes and the smile on her lips would be enough to “slay” five or even ten men.

“Bandits?”

Irene remained calm even with six large men surrounding her. Her silky black hair just about blew into her eyes, so she brushed it back without thinking. That casual motion carried the grace and beauty of a refined lady, but it was also faintly seductive.

Even if she wore men’s clothing and even if she was a seasoned warrior, Irene was still a woman. And that went beyond her beautiful appearance. She gave off a unique aura.

Her beauty must have inspired some lust in the bandits because one of them tacked on another condition.

“And while you’re here, let’s have a bit of fun together.”

He showed off his crooked teeth with a vulgar smile.

Then the rest of them started laughing.

“What’s wrong, girly? Say something already.”

“Too scared to talk?”

Something about Irene’s calm behavior felt off to the bandits. She was too brave for their liking. Normally, someone in her position would cower in fear, cry, try to run away, or beg for mercy. They would never maintain such an unconcerned expression. Where did that confidence come from?

“You are an eyesore. Leave.”

When Irene gave that blunt and icy response, the bandits briefly looked like they had swallowed some vinegar, but then their faces grew red.

“Sounds like we need to show this bitch what happens when someone talks back to us.”

The eyepatch man who appeared to be their leader gave an angry threat and then raised his scimitar. A moment later, Irene had sliced his head down the middle without any of them even seeing her draw the blade.

“Wah!”

The human skull was extremely hard, so this would not normally be possible. Irene said nothing at all as she held out the bloody sword to threaten the others.

She was not a cruel and brutal person. However, she was not a kind enough person to respect the rights and lives of people who treated other people’s rights and lives like garbage.

After seeing that extraordinary skill and seeing their boss dead, the other bandits scattered in a panic.

Irene left without even glancing back at them.

Irene continued her journey without a second thought about the bandits. She visited different inns while showing off a sketch of Millia and describing the girl to gather information. Eventually, she found someone who claimed to have seen the girl.

When she visited the location she was given, she found a sudden clearing in the middle of the forest. The hunter who had led her here had vanished all of a sudden.

She easily picked up on the tense killer intent coming from the twilight forest.

“I had a feeling this was a trap.”

She smiled bitterly.

As the saying said, nothing ventured, nothing gained. She had come here knowing it was a trap. She was confident she could break out of most any trap.

“The Night Crows, hm?”

There were two types of groups commonly known as ninjas.

The first type worked for a master like the Sabrina Kingdom’s ninjas who were led by Karura. The second type worked as freelance mercenaries like these Night Crows and made temporary contracts with kingdoms or organizations.

This kind could be even more skilled than the ninjas who directly served a specific kingdom.

As their name suggested, the Night Crows excelled at night battles.

Irene could sense around 20 people hiding in the forest around her.

Her white skin and bright eyes stood out even at night.

“…!”

They did not even wait for her to raise her sword before they threw sand at her from all four directions.

She was blinded, but she sensed something flying toward her and swung her sword. Something wrapped around the blade. It was a kusarigama. Another one came from the opposite direction, so she quickly drew her short sword to deal with it.

She could no longer use either of her swords and nets were thrown at her from three different directions overhead.

Once trapped by the triple nets, ten bows launched one and then another arrow at her.

“Okay!”

The mid-ranking ninja was satisfied.

Ninja organizations were generally split into three ranks: high, middle, and low.

The high-ranking members were the leaders, the mid-ranking ones were the mission commanders, and the low-ranking ones were the foot soldiers.

This mid-ranking ninja commanding this mission was a 30-year veteran, so he had put together a watertight plan and it had been executed flawlessly.

He had been ordered to capture the woman, but he had never been told to leave her unharmed. A few minor injuries could be dealt with using healing magic, so she would just have to bear with the pain.

This might seem excessive for capturing a single woman, but a lion would not hold back when hunting a single lamb. Plus, this opponent was no lamb.

This woman was known as a Master Swordswoman for a reason. Ninjas were not chivalrous enough to challenge someone in their field of expertise. After accepting this job, he had carefully planned out what to do. And he was overjoyed that it had worked. However, he did not have long to bask in the joy of success.

“…!”

He was dumbfounded by what he saw. It felt like seeing a ghost.

Someone burst out from amid the concentrated barrage of arrows.

Irene was completely unscathed. The blinding sand, the kusarigama, the nets, and the arrows had all failed to stop her.

After entering the forest, she skillfully jabbed her sword to the left, stabbed to the right, and slashed straight ahead to slay three people one after another. And these were not your ordinary people. Those powerful men had been trained as ninjas from a very early age, so combat permeated them to their bones.

(What? How could this happen?)

The commanding ninja doubted his eyes, but he also grew pale in a way very unlike a killing machine.

They could not win. They could not defeat this woman. The intuition he had built up over many long years on the job told him what was happening, so he grew too fearful to react immediately.

He now knew just how frightening a Master Swordswoman could be. His tongue was frozen and his brain had stopped.

“Everyone retreat.”

His inability to give that command sooner was his fatal mistake.

Irene did not overlook the pause created by her enemy’s surprise.

She moved quickly toward them.

Close-quarters combat was Irene’s specialty.

No matter what techniques you trained in, you could not grow a third arm or sprout a tail at will, so no matter the difference in strength, a single person could only fight three people at once.

But Irene ran around swiftly, wove feints into her movements, and created distinct one-on-one battles from moment to moment. And in a one-on-one sword battle, no one could hope to stand up to her. Her opponents were cut down in the blink of an eye. She shifted from one mini-battle to another to whittle down the ninjas one by one.

Her fighting style was as elegant as a performative dance of blades, but there was no mercy in her movements. She always went for the kill. Her blades flashed again and again as she slayed her foes like she was harvesting fruits and vegetables. Blood sprayed all around her.

She was most beautiful when in the midst of battle. The flash of her blades was her decoration and the blood of her enemies her makeup while performing this dance of blades.

This was why she was known as the Sword Dancer and not just a beautiful woman.

She was as dangerous and beautiful as a finely honed sword.

Everyone opposing her – without exception – felt a tremor in their body. They were so charmed by that beautiful grim reaper that they felt like they were actively offering their soul to her scythe.

That human embodiment of death swung her weapons every which way to jab, slice, and cut down all who stood before her. The smell of blood was so strong the nose grew numb to it.

While soaked with her foe’s blood, Irene sent out a powerful slash that the mid-ranking ninja just barely managed to block over his head with a short sword.

His ability to react so quickly showed why he was commander, but he himself was impressed he had managed to do it. He was certain he could not do it again. Luck had played a big role there.

But he was not given time to thank the goddess of luck. Irene’s attack sliced right on through his cross-shaped steel sword. His eyes widened as he saw the sword continue down past the bisected short sword. And then it bisected him from head to crotch.

Irene had cut down 20 experienced ninjas all on her own.

“…”

But she did not return her bloody sword to its scabbard.

“Now that was impressive. They say every rose has its thorns and you definitely embody that tired old saying.”

Irene’s silent prompting was answered by a tall man who stepped out while smiling and applauding.

Irene was tall for a woman, but he was at least a head taller than her.

He had a manly face, skin tanned a reddish brown, and a nicely proportioned and muscular build.

He looked like a silly man who never stopped smiling, but Irene could tell at a glance that was only camouflage.

“I do not believe we have met. My name is Lavancio. It is a pleasure to meet you.”

“Lavancio the Heretic Radiant Swordsman. I have heard your name. I had heard you were set to inherit a school of sword fighting…but you strayed.”

Irene’s voice was soft and delicate, but her tone was harsh and threatening.

Lavancio had been a child prodigy of a Radiant Swordsman and quickly made a name for himself as a genius swordfighter. But just as so many skilled swordsmen grew stubborn and insolent as they progressed down the path of the blade, his behavior had become a problem and he had been stripped of his title of Radiant Swordsman.

Irene’s clothes were plastered to her skin with blood, so her splendid proportions showed through, creating an incredibly sensual image.

Lavancio leered at the lines from Irene’s chest down to her hips while he spoke to her with a grin.

“When you get down to it, sword fighting is about killing people, so personality doesn’t seem that important to me. That stubborn old man refused to see it that way, but you understand what I mean, don’t you?”

“No, I do not.”

“That’s too bad.”

Lavancio responded with laughter in his voice. The very next moment, he reached for the hilt of the vermilion sword at his hip, drew it with blinding speed, and attacked the swordswoman. His steel sword shined with a bluish-white light because it was a Radiant Swordsman’s specialty: a Sorcerer’s Sword. Irene raised her bloody sword to meet him.

The two swords flew like dragons and sparks scattered as they clashed. Irene had only managed to block his attack because her sword was Raiment Render. He would have sliced right through a normal sword.

There were two types of skilled swordfighters: those who were proud of their strength and were always looking for more battles to win and those who would prefer to never use their sword if possible.

Lavancio was the former and Irene the latter. However, Irene was not a complete pacifist. She was made of stern enough stuff to wield her blade when it was necessary.

But ideology aside, a Radiant Swordsman was clashing with a Shooting Star Flower master. Any lover of sword fighting would have dreamed of such a confrontation and here it was happening in the forest at night. It was such a shame that they only had the owls for spectators.

However, their battle came to a surprisingly swift end. Since the Radiant Swordsman’s Sorcerer’s Sword had not worked, it came down to simple sword technique. That gave the Shooting Star Flower master an edge.

After seven or eight exchanges, Irene raised both her swords, caught her opponent’s sword between them, and threw it high in the sky. Lavancio tried to quickly draw the other sword at his hip, but the toes of Irene’s left foot caught him right in the crotch.

There was an audible crunching sound. Or at least Lavancio thought he heard one.

A fellow man never could have thrown such a merciless kick there.

After Irene pulled back her foot, the man briefly stood there with a pathetic look on his face and his legs turned inwards, but then his face went blank before he foamed at the mouth and collapsed.

“Ugh…kill me!”

“Oh, I will.”

Irene stated that without a smile and placed the tip of her sword against his throat.

“But first, answer me this: where are Millia and Vloodvane?”

“Heh heh… Do you really think I’ll tell you that?”

“I don’t know. But the answer will determine whether your death is painless or very painful indeed.”

She lightly swung her sword to the side, splitting the surface layer of his skin. Blood oozed out from his throat.

“Heh. Fine then. I did lose to you and the winner has the right to claim everything. I will tell you what I know.”

Lavancio was sweating heavily as he shut his eyes and spoke.

“Go to Carell. There you will find Vloodvane and the person you seek.”

“Is that so? Thank you.”

Irene smiled and then sank her blade into his throat.

“You are Lady Irene, I assume.”

Once Irene arrived in the Carell region, she found an old man blocking her path.

He held a short spear in each hand, wore a metal helmet and metal armor, had a face and build more impressive than his gray beard would have suggested, and gave off a dignified presence.

He was very old, but he had the fortitude to endure a blizzard and a thoroughly trained manliness. He looked like a god of war from the legends. Anyone would know at a glance who he was. He had remained a soldier to his advanced age, so he had countless tales of valor. Plus, not many warriors dual-wielded spears.

Irene knew he had to be General Daist who was known as a peerless warrior for the king’s side of the civil war. He had worked his way up from a simple infantryman and he was not all that skilled a strategist or tactician, but no one else in the kingdom could match his reckless courage. In other words, he was a living success story who had worked his way up to general by riding the cascade of blood he himself had created.

Why had someone like this shown up on Vloodvane’s behalf? He should not have been participating in this vulgar conflict between Vloodvane’s shadow army and Irene’s Shooting Flower school. It was like an adult joining in a fight between children.

“Come to think of it, Carell is one of the regions you control, isn’t it? But why are you working for that scum, old man?”

“I have my reasons.”

He apparently was not the type to explain what those reasons were. And Irene had been prepared for whatever might be waiting for her here.

“Let us begin.”

General Daist kicked off the ground.

“Very well.”

As soon as she responded, Irene shot forward with the intensity of a gale.

General Daist’s spear tips tore diagonally though Irene’s cape and her blade produced sparks when it hit his helmet.

They fought with neither of them backing off. When he raised both spears and left himself exposed, she sent a kick to his gut. That knocked him off balance, but he swung his left spear to keep her away and immediately made a jab with the other spear. She leaned back to dodge it, but he had regained his balance by then.

“I can see why you were given the title of Master Swordswoman at such a young age. You have a decent handling of a blade.”

“And I am glad I could see what people call your divine skill.”

After a short but fierce exchange, they both assessed each other’s skill level. And from there, they both took this more seriously.

Their weapons flashed like lightning and roared like thunder. The old tiger and the young lioness fought with the intensity of a great wave crashing against the rocks or two bolts of lightning intersecting.

With Irene’s skill and Raiment Render, she could slice right through the average helmet, but armor was made for use on the battlefield and it was made by forging together sheets of metal. Plus, the armor worn by someone on General Daist’s level was not going to be average.

She needed to aim for the gaps in the armor to win, but he would not let her do that and caught her attacks on the armor itself.

Irene got a few kicks at his gut and head, but he was tough and she could not get in a finishing blow.

He had not fought on the battlefield for over half a century for nothing.

Blood burst from his mouth, but his body maintained its strength. Irene felt like her stamina was going to run out first as she kept up the attack.

But General Daist was an old man. He probably could have defeated Irene’s sword technique by brute force had he been 20 years younger, but as things were, he could not keep up with her speed.

Their audience must have been unable to continue watching Irene’s unilateral attacks.

“Thank you, grandfather, but that is enough.”

Irene and General Daist backed away from each other when a female voice suddenly spoke to the old man.

Then a witch in a black dress appeared using teleportation magic.

“Are you sure?” asked General Daist.

“Yes. If we lose you here, Master Vloodvane would be very displeased with me.”

“I see. Then Sir Vloodvane will assist me as promised?”

“Yes, I will take full responsibility in that matter.”

“Very good.”

General Daist nodded and bowed toward Irene before mounting a warhorse and riding away.

He was known as a recklessly brave person, but he must have softened in his old age. Irene guessed he was trying to use Vloodvane’s power to unite Ralfint and bring peace back to the kingdom.

A great many people with a great many plans were intertwined here.

“Now, then.”

After watching General Daist leave, Glinda turned back toward Irene.

“I am honestly shocked you could drive back General Daist.”

“…”

To an amateur, Irene’s single combat with General Daist would have looked like her overwhelming victory, but she had feared she would run out of stamina first if it had continued much longer. Irene looked down on this intruder for overlooking that.

“Okay, you can come out now, Millia.”

Whether she knew what Irene was thinking or not, Glinda calmly brushed back her silver hair and called out a name. A naked girl walked up in response.

“Millia!?”

“…Irene.”

The girl was completely naked except for a collar around her neck and she was doing her best to cover her crotch with her hands.

Millia had been a healthy girl known for her bright and carefree smile, but there was no sign of that anymore. She only looked fearful and nervous.

“Hee hee. What an emotional reunion.”

Glinda seemed satisfied by Irene’s confusion and Millia’s shame. She happily pulled the naked girl toward her and forcibly removed the hands covering the girl’s crotch.

Millia squirmed in embarrassment when her master saw her glistening labia, but Irene did not understand at first. She gasped when she saw Glinda reach her fingers into the slit and slowly pull out a large shape.

An abnormally large dildo appeared from the crotch of that girl with such a childish face.

“Hee hee. I look forward to seeing you show your precious Irene what you learned in your training. I doubt that woman has ever had anything this large inside her, so that is one way that the student has surpassed her master. Or is she the type that keeps a cool face while secretly getting plowed on a nightly basis? I do hear the pretentious types tend to be incredible in bed.”

Glinda gave a suggestive sneer.

“Shut your filthy mouth, you rat!”

This scene was enough to know just how horribly Millia had been treated.

Irene snapped at the woman in a rage.

The swordswoman’s intensity caused the witch to flinch a bit.

“I would really prefer a more clever method, but you leave me no choice.”

Glinda made a show of pressing a knife against Millia’s throat.

“Now, if you care at all about your beloved student’s life, then set down your swords.”

Glinda’s threat did not stop Irene. When people were truly angry, they did not run. They walked calmly.

Irene was not sentimental enough to give in to such a hackneyed threat. At the moment, she was a bloodthirsty warrior.

“You seem mistaken about something. I am the one with the upper hand here. I will remove that head of yours one way or another. But if you harm Millia any further, I will make sure you regret it using every form of pain this world offers.”

The look in Irene’s eyes was enough to know she intended to make good on that threat. Even Glinda felt fear. And the realization that she was afraid put her in a bad mood.

Glinda shrugged, removed the knife from Millia’s throat, and looked Irene straight in the eye until formless sparks flew.

“Hee hee.” Glinda laughed without warning. “I just had a great idea. A battle between of the Shooting Star Flower’s master and greatest student would make for quite a show, don’t you think?”

“…?”

Irene and Millia looked puzzled, so Glinda gave them a suggestive look.

“But it wouldn’t be any fun if you threw the fight.”

The knife vanished from Glinda’s hand and a large double-edged sword appeared in its place.

“Millia, use this sword.”

“…”

Millia was never going to turn a real sword against Irene and there was bound to be more to this sword than met the eye, so she shook her head to show her defiance.

“Come on, take this sword and fight Irene.”

When Glinda smiled and insisted, Millia sensed the anger barely hidden below the smile and grew afraid.

She could not bring herself to so blatantly disobey Glinda after the cruel training from before. She reluctantly took the sword, but the instant it was in her hand, her back straightened up and her eyes focused forward. All of the hesitation had vanished from her expression, like the previous reluctance had never existed.

Irene narrowed her eyes.

“What did you do to her?”

“That is what you might call a magic sword. It erases its wielder’s emotions so they can focus on killing. It’s a simple little spell I thought up to create makeshift assassins, but I just found this alternate use for it. Oh ho ho ho.”

“You really are scum.”

Irene spat out the words just as Millia approached with the large sword. Irene had no choice but to block.

Sparks flew from their swords and they circled around each other as they fought.

Millia’s emotions were erased by the magic sword, but she fought the same as she did when in top form.

Irene and Millia had fought evenly in training, but Irene was far stronger in actual combat. Irene would not hesitate to cut down her opponent, but Millia was not coldhearted enough. That difference in resolve would have determined the outcome.

However, even Irene would hesitate before cutting down her own student and that dulled her movements, but Millia attacked with no hesitation whatsoever.

They jabbed forward, swept backwards, slashed to the left, and struck to the right. Each attack was like the flash of a shooting star or the sparkle of a rainbow, but even after 80 exchanges, no winner had emerged.

“…!”

Suddenly, Irene made an error in her footwork. She had only just fought a life-or-death battle against General Daist and that must have affected her legs more than she had realized. Millia did not overlook the opening and swept the magic sword toward Irene’s legs. Just before the sword hit, Irene seemed to fly up into the sky and then her long sword was descending from above Millia’s head.

Millia could not fully react to that fantastical sword technique. She did well to even raise her sword in time. But her stance was all wrong and Irene took advantage of that to knee her right in the gut.

“Geh!”

With a wordless groan, Millia doubled over and sank to the ground.

It was hardly surprising Millia had failed to react. The Shooting Star Flower had a technique that was only passed down to the master of each generation: Shimmer Blade. That was what Irene had just used.

It was a dangerous technique that could easily have killed Millia, but Irene had rationally concluded that Millia would be able to dodge it.

Irene snatched away the magic sword controlling Millia and tossed it toward Glinda who was casually watching it all play out.

It happened so suddenly that Glinda could not move out of the way and the sword grazed her left cheek as it flew past.

Fresh blood squirted from her snow-white cheek. She touched a hand to her cheek to check and then her face twisted in rage.

“How dare you harm my face.”

She must have used healing magic because the wound on her cheek visibly closed up. But the magic could not heal her anger, so her curved eyebrows twisted around. However, Irene was not going to be outdone when it came to anger.

“Millia may never fully recover from the psychological scars of what you scum did to her. You will pay for that with your life.”

The swordswoman in black and the witch in black gave into their fury as they confronted each other.

“I will tear you to pieces!”

Glinda was the first to get started. She held out her right hand and began some kind of incantation under her breath. Irene raced forward to stop her.

Something gathered around Glinda.

It was a swarm of venomous snakes.

The snakes opened their maws to expose sharp fangs while launching themselves toward Irene from every direction like arrows loosed from bows.

“I hope you are ready to die from venomous snake bites to the womb.”

Glinda smirked, but Irene rotated her sword like a windmill and lopped off more and more of the snake’s heads, killing them. All the while, Irene’s feet never came to a stop.

“…”

Once Irene arrived directly in front of Glinda, the witch did not have time to recite the incantation for more magic.

Glinda jumped back to avoid the flash of the swung blade, but she did not fully avoid it. Blood erupted from her upper arm. At the same time, Irene’s second sword sliced horizontally across Glinda’s stomach.

“Gh.”

Glinda’s intestines spilled out and she had to catch them in her arms. But she was a witch. True to her position as the top student of an immortal mage, the wound in her stomach was fully healed a moment later. But Irene used that opening to kick up her leg and score a clean hit on Glinda’s slender jaw.

Glinda flew in a perfect backflip and landed face up on the ground. She was suffering from a light concussion, but Irene swung her left foot down into the witch’s stomach.

“Gweh.”

Glinda groaned as her body arched up before falling back down.

That ended the women’s single combat between witch and swordswoman.

“I only have one question for you: where is that bastard Vloodvane?”

“Why would I ever tell you that!?”

“I see…”

Irene said nothing more as she placed her weight on her foot. She pressed down on the groin as if trying to break the pubic bone below her foot.

In what may have been the cruelty a woman only showed to another woman, there was no hint of mercy in Irene’s eyes. No, Irene was the type to be equally merciless to either sex if they made themselves her enemy.

“E-eek…”

Glinda was a sadist, but she must have never received a taste of her own medicine before. The icy beauty of her face twisted as the fear of death and pressure on her bladder made her piss herself.

Irene looked down on her with scornful eyes and prepared to swing down her sword for the finishing blow, but a magic bullet flew her way. She jumped back and sliced the magic bullet in two.

“Who did that!?”

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