|Rakudai Kishi no Eiyuutan Volume 02|
Cover of Rakudai Kishi no Eiyuutan Volume 2 featuring Stella Vermillion
|Romaji||Rakudai Kishi no Eiyūtan 2|
|Release Date||October 15, 2013|
|Previous||Light Novel Volume 01|
|Next||Light Novel Volume 03|
With the battle selection progressing well for Ikki and his friends, who are on a winning streak. After his most recent match, Ikki who has been sensing someone's presence for a week, finally decides to call out the stalker. The stalker, Ayase Ayatsuji, a third year student and daughter to a well known swordsman, Kaito Ayatsuji, reveals that she has been on a slump and proceeds to ask Ikki to become her teacher in swordsmanship. Accepting her request as he begins to train her, Ikki starts to find out there is more to Ayase than meets the eye when a Blazer from another school becomes involve and harasses Ayase. The situation worsened as he and Ayase are pitted against each other for their next match.
Prologue: Memories of a distant Day
In a dojo dyed in red, a girl stands, calling out to the man before, her voice filled with distress. However, the man, who is the girl's father simply laughs, saying that it's still a hundred years too yearly for someone to hold back against him. The girl tries reminding her father of his condition, but her father simply tells her to look, wanting to entrust her with his greatest technique, while he still can hold a sword. As the man readies his shinai (wooden practice sword), the girl, named Ayase, can only watch. Years later, Ayase manifest her blade shaped Device, swinging it as her father taught her. However, she has already lost everything important to her, with that scene from the past still burning bright in her eyes.
Chapter 1: Disciple
In Hagun Academy, the selection battles continue, with Ikki now entering the arena for his ninth battle, having won the previous eight matches, without a scratch, except for his match against Kirihara. His opponent today however, is a member of the student council, second year student Renren Tomaru, who is ranked third strongest in Hagun Academy. As the match starts Renern manifest's her knuckel-type Device and playfully hops around, while chatting with Ikki. Renren compliments him on his victory against Shizuya Kirihara and notes how sad it is that they are no longer in the same year, as Renren wants to fight more strong opponents. However, she also claims that as Ikki struggled so much against the "Hunter", he won't be able to catch up to her, suddenly disappearing. Ikki however quickly notices that Renren is simply moving at extreme speeds, thanks to her Device, 'Mach Grid', which allows her to accumulate her speed overtime. This was the reason for her friendly chatting with Ikki, as she simply needed time to gather speed, now going faster then sound. Renren then moves into Ikki's blind spot and charges at him with her Noble Art, 'Black Bird', which releases all of her speed at once. In the audience however, Shizuku notes that the reason Ikki struggled against Kirihara wasn't because he couldn't see him, and he will have no problem against Renre. As Renren is about to hit Ikki, he miraculously dodges Renren's attack, grabbing her and smashing her to the arena. As Renren has now been stopped, her speed has returned to zero, effectively losing her the match. Knowing this, Renren willingly surrenders.
Next up, is Stella's match against another member of the student council, second year student Ikazuchi Saijou, who is the fourth strongest student after Renren. Saijou manifests his Device, 'Zanbatou', which coincidentally is a zanbatou (large blade). Saijou starts swinging his large weapon, revealing that his ability is the accumulation of the power of slashes, which allows his attacks to become more powerful with every slash. The weakness of the ability however is that the attacks can be easily avoided, rendering his ability useless. Despite this, Stella chooses to confront Saijou's power, instead of evading it. Saijou then slashes at Stella with his Noble Art, 'Crecendo Axe', which releases all of his power- However, this attack is easily overpowered by Stella, who destroys Saijou's Device with her own attack, and sends him flying, winning the match.
After the matches, Ikki is congratulated by Shizuku and Alice, who also won their own matches, with Shizuku especially getting close to Ikki, which in turn annoys Stella. Stella and Shizuku bicker about the subject, with Stella being secretly even more angered, as she and Ikki are actually lovers now, though only secretly due to differences in their social statuses. Noticing Stella's mood, Ikki also carefully advises Shizuku to be a little less assertive, which Shizuku surprisingly accepts. It's implied that Shizuku is also actually aware of Ikki's and Stella's relationship. Despite Ikki and Stella being lovers now, their relationship has been distant, as they are both unaware of what to do, despite wishing for more closeness.
As Ikki, Stella, Shizuku and Alice are walking they wake admiration around them, having become very famous among the students for their victories in the selection matches. Especially Ikki has become acknowledged and respected, having started a lecture class on martial arts during the lunch breaks, which even third years and people outside the school coming to learn from Ikki. Ikki, being experienced in multiple martial arts is able to teach all kinds of people. Ikki though notes that the biggest change is probably that he has gained a stalker, shocking Stella and Shizuku. Ikki explains that he has been followed for week now, by an unknown person, though he also says that he doesn't think that the stalker has malicious intent towards. They think that it's possible that the stalker is infatuated with Ikki, though this doesn't calm down Shizuku or Stella. Ikki however suggests that they asks the stalker themselves, revealing that the stalker is actually hiding behind a bush nearby. Calling out to that person, the stalker, who is revealed to be a girl with long black hair, falls out of the bush into a nearby pond, falling unconscious. As Ikki and Alice help her, Stella and Shizuku are annoyed by the stalker being a beautiful girl.
The stalker girl is seeing a nightmare about robust men interrogating her and intending on torturing her. As the girl wakes up in the hospital room, Shizuku is sitting next to her, whispering things, like whipping, drowning and burning on a stake into her ear. Shizuku then calls out to Ikki and the others, who enter the room. The girl realizes that she hit her head and was carried into the hospital room by Ikki and Alice. The girl then greets Ikki and the others, although she averts their gazes. As Ikki asks who the girl is, she tells that she is a third years student named Ayase Ayatsuji. Ikki notices how Ayase is purposely averting his gaze, and asks why she is doing this, with Ayase saying that she is too embarrassed to look new people in the eye, as she is very shy. Stella and Shizuku then intervene and start questioning why Ayase stalked Ikki, blaming her on peeping on Ikki due to her carnal desires, which Ayase attempts to deny. Realizing Ayase hasn't been talking him out of malice or love, Ikki wonders why Ayase is stalking him, until coming to a realization, after noticing calluses on her hands that come from training with a training sword. Ikki asks Ayase if she's related to the famed swordsman Kaito Ayatsuji. Ayase says that she is actually Kaito's daughter, as Stella asks who this Kaito is . Shizuku explains that Kaito, called the "Last Samurai", is a master of the 'Ayatsuji Itto-ryu' style, though he is actually just a normal human, and not Blazer, which is why many Blazers don't know him. To those who practice martial arts however, Kaito is legendary, having won countless tournaments, and even defeated Blazers with just his swordsmanship. Ikki tells that he attempted to challenge Kaito when he was young, but was denied the opportunity. Ikki asks how Kaito is doing, as he hasn't heard much about him recently, and Ayase reveals that Kaito is currently hospitalized due to an injury he received during a match. Ayase explains that after this she has attempted to keep up her training, but has fallen into a slump recently. Ayase explains that she was stalking Ikki, because she didn't know how to approach him. Ikki then suggests that they should train each other in swordsmanship, as he would wish to experience the swordsmanship of the "Last Samurai". Ayase happily accepts, though she doesn't think there is much that she can teach to Ikki, making her his disciple.
Ikki, Stella, Shizuku and Alice often train in a open area in the woods after school, with Ikki and Stella practicing their swordsmanship, while Alice and Shizuku trained their magic. Now Ayase was also invited to train with them, having a mock battle with Ikki, using her katana Device 'Hizume'. Ayase shows great skill in her form, being able to respond to all of Ikki's attacks. However, Ikki, being an experienced swordsman, figures out the thing that is holding Ayase's swordsmanship back. Ikki calls of the duel and tells Ayase that the reason she is in a slump, is because she is following her father's style too closely. Ikki explains that there are fundamental differences between the bodies of males and females, which results in different strengths and weaknesses. Ayase can't use the exact same methods as her father to their fullest extent, as their bodies are different. Ikki then suggests that he would show Ayase how to change her technique, although only if she wished to. Ayase accepts this, wanting to become stronger. Ikki then starts fixing the positions of her arms and legs, greatly embarrassing Ayase. After Ikki is finally done, he apologizes to Ayase for his actions, realizing that the situation was embarrassing to her. Ayase though says that she didn't mind that much, as Ikki's hands reminded her of her father's. With her new form, Ayase is able to become a lot faster and stronger, thanks to Ikki. Ikki's teaching of Ayase though makes Stella a little jealous, purposely trying to mess up her own swordsmanship so Ikki would do her the same he did t Ayase. However, Stella subconsciously corrects her messed up moves, making a different, but not bad style, which sees. This irritates Stella even further, though the reason of this anger is unknown to Ikki.
Stella sits next to Shizuku's and Alice's practice, angered by how much attention Ikki is giving Ayase. While Shizuku taunts Stella, Alice notes that Ikki probably has nothing to teach to Stella, as they have such different styles of swordsmanship. Stella questions if Shizuku is okay with Ikki touching Ayase, with Shizuku simply answering that Ikki is just training Ayase, and there is no romance between them. Shizuku then says that Stella has misunderstood Shizuku's feelings towards Ikki, explaining that she doesn't want to monopolize Ikki, but just wants him to be happy with whoever he chooses. Stella notes how mature Shizuku is sometimes, only to have Shizuku insult her. Stella thinks about her and Ikki's relationship, and ponders the fact that they haven't done anything "lover stuff" in the past few months. This worries Stella, who doesn't know what to do, being worried about the fact that Ikki might not even want to be in a relationship with her anymore.
Chapter 2: Twilight of Disaster
After winning his tenth selection match, Ikki suggests to Ayase that they should go to the pool the next day. Although Ayase is a bit confused by this, Ikki believes that doing some more relaxing training in the pool, will be a great help, as Ayase's body is probably very tired from all of the new kinds of movements Ikki has taught. Stella also decides to tag along, not wanting Ikki to do any indecent things with Ayase. As Ikki and Stella are waiting the next day for Ayase, Ikki notices that Stella has been feeling annoyed for the past few days, guessing that this is because of the amount of attention Ikki has placed on Ayase's training. Ikki and Stella talk about this, with Ikki assuring that he has no romantic feelings for Ayase, and only loves Stella. Just when the two are having a moment, Ayase arrives, interrupting them. They then quickly head to the pool, with Ikki regretting that he missed the chance to clearly express his feelings to Stella.
As the three enter the pools, Stella wakes great amounts of attention around her, with many boys staring at her gorgeous appearance. Ikki then instructs Ayase, telling her to simply drift and float through the water, which will increase her lung capacity. Stella however is disappointed, as she wished to do something more fun with Ikki. As Stella does the same training as Ayase, she notes that the true purpose of the training method is for the person to feel more closer to themselves and their body. To Stella however, this training is easy and unnecessary, as her swordsmanship is at a higher level. However, Stella thinks how she still has some way to go, noting that she has not yet reached her absolute limit like Ikki. As Stella submerges in to the water, she hears Ayase asks if she is dating Ikki, which causes Stella to cough and almost drown.
After having regained her composure, Stella denies Ayase's claim, stating that a princess like her couldn't date a commoner. Ayase however tricks Stella into admitting her relationship with Ikki, by saying that she herself has feelings for Ikki, which causes Stella to admit her relationship. Ayase then clarifies that she doesn't harbor any romantic feelings for Ikki, which calms Stella down. Stella tells Ayase that she can't talk about Stella's and Ikki's relationship, as it would be a public scandal. As Ayase continues to asks about their relationship, Stella also tells her that they haven't really done any "lover stuff", as Stella is nervous that Ikki might come to hate her, if she is too pushy. Ayase though suggests that she should talk to Ikki, assuring her that Ikki would definitely not cold-heartedly hate her. Just then, Ikki returns to them, and Ayase tells him that Stella has something to say, while she goes to continue her training.
Stella attempts to talk to Ikki about their relationship, using Ayase's advice. However, they get into an argument, as they are both confused and are afraid that the other will get angry at them, waking attention around them. Stella and Ikki move to a more secluded part of the pools, and decide to say the thing they want the most, which happens to be a kiss. Stella and Ikki then kiss each other, and make amends.
Ikki, Stella and Ayase are eating at a restaurant, with Ayase being amazed by the amount that Stella eats. Ayase thanks Ikki for the training, though Ikki says that Ayase would have probably gotten to this point by herself eventually. Ayase tells them, that getting to the Festival is very important for her, as she wishes to face a certain person who took something away from her. Just then, a man, who has a long coat, a skull tattoo on his chest and is smoking, enters the restaurant and recognizes Ayase. The man, named Kuraudo, also has multiple other men surrounding him, who also greet Ayase. Ayase though is noticeably bothered by Kuraudo and the other men, which causes Ikki to ask them to leave. Kuraudo looks and Ikki, guessing that he is a swordsmanship, and apologizes for his behavior, while handing Ikki a beer. As Ikki tries taking the bottle, Kuraudo smashes it into his head, causing Ikki to bleed. Kuraudo then manifests his Device, which is a bone sword, challenging Ikki. Stella is infuriated by Kuraudo's actions, but Ikki tells her to calm down, saying that Kuraudo's hand simply slipped, and it's not something to have a fight over. Kuraudo and the other men start to mock Ikki, calling him a coward, though they eventually leave. After the men leave, Stella asks why Ikki didn't do anything, as he could have beaten all of them without his Device. Ikki though notes that Kuraudo was very strong. Suddenly, a boy appears sitting on the table, saying that Kuraudo came in the top 8 of last year's Festival. Another person, a woman dressed in a white dress and holding an umbrella, also is present, telling that the individual they met was the ace of Donrou Academy, another Mage-Knight school, "Sword Eater" Kuraudo Kurashiki. Stella asks who these people are, and Ikki tells them that the boy is the Vice-President of the student council, Utakata Misogi, and the woman is the treasurer of the student council, Kanata Totokubara. They congratulate Ikki's behavior, as if he would have attacked Kuraudo, they would have needed to intervene. Utakata then heals Ikki's wound with his mysterious ability, and he and Kanata then leave. Ikki turns to Ayase, asking what her relation to Kuraudo and the other men is, but he gets a message on his datapad, saying that the opponent of his tenth match will be Ayase herself. Ayase, also getting this message, quickly leaves.
Kuraudo and his men are later seen, talking about Ikki, while Kuraudo silently drinks beer. The other men think Ikki as a coward, but Kuraudo notes to himself that Ikki was at a very high-level, not giving into his provocation, and marks that he will surely appear in the Seven Stars Sword Art Festival. After the announcement of Ikki's and Ayase's match, Ayase stopped coming to the practice, which worries Stella. Alice questions if Ayase has taken any contact to Ikki, saying that she was very clear about wanting to go to the Festival, and in order to win against Ikki, she will need to make some kind of plans, to mess with him. Hearing this, Ikki tosses Alice a notebook, with a message from Ayase, asking Ikki to come meet her tomorrow on the roof at 3Am, the night before their match. Alice warns Ikki that it's possibly a trap, but Ikki isn't bothered by this, wanting to believe in Ayase. Alice though still tells him to be careful. During the nigh, Ikki goes on the roof, and meeting Ayase, who has a sinister smile on her face. Ikki also notices that Ayase is looking straight at him, which she was previously unable to do. After a brief chat, Ikki asks why Ayase wanted to meet him, with Ayase remaining silent. Ikki asks if Kuraudo is the person who took something away from Ayase. Ayase says that Ikki is correct, and decides to reveal why she called him there, which is to asks what Ikki would do, if he faced an opponent he couldn't beat in the selection battles, although having promised that he'd make it to the Festival. Ikki says that he'd fight with all got fair and square. This answer however doesn't please Ayase, as she believes that righteousness without results is just caprice.
Hearing Ayase's words ans feeling her cold aura, Ikki is confused, as Ayase materializes her Device, Hizume, causing a shrieking sound of cutting. Hearing this, Ikki deduces she used some kind of cutting-ability. trying to detect what she cut, only to notice that it was the metal fence behind her. Ayse then jumps backwards, falling of the roof of the building. Not understanding what Ayase is trying to do, Ikki activates Ittou Shura, using the enhanced abilities to save Ayase, by jumping down, catching her and running vertically down the building. Ayase explains that, as Ittou Shura can only be used once a day, Ikki won't be able to use it in their match, nearly guaranteeing Ayase the victory. Hearing this, Ikki is shocked by Ayase's backhanded tactics, taking her tactics as an insult to all those who are trying to prove themselves as knights. Ikki also asks Ayase if she can still remain proud, when using such tactics. Ayase though doesn't care, as long as she can beat Ikki. As she leaves, Ikki curses in frustration over the situation.
Chapter 3: Ayase Ayatsuji
Ayase wakes up in the morning before her match against Ikki, having taken a nap, after her confrontation with Ikki. Ayase's roommate is not present, having left Ayase a letter which tells her that she won't be coming to Ayase's match, but is supporting her, if she needs any help. Ayase also remembers his meeting with Ikki, with Ikki's words troubling her. Ayase though decides to not care about him, wanting to visit a certain place.
Ayase goes to visit the Shishido General Hospital, entering room 515. As Ayase enter, she is greeted by her aunt Suzuka, who is sitting next to a bed. On the bed lays Ayase's unconscious father, Kaito Ayatsuji. Suzuka leaves Ayase and Kaito alone, going to a nearby coffee shop. As Ayase sits next to her father, the old man silently moves his lips out of habit, with Ayase recognizing the lip movements as apologizing., which brings Ayase sorrow and vexation. Ayase then remembers what her father told her about Ayatsuji Itto-ryu. He told Ayase to never lose her pride, and to help the weak and frail, while never using her blade for personal gain, wanting her to become a knight who won't be a shame to others or herself. Ayase then thinks back to her training and the faithful events that lead to Kaito becoming hospitalized two years ago.
It was six months after Ayase had entered Hagun Academy as a student knight. She was returning from school to the Ayatsuji dojo to train, where Kaito also trains other pupils, though he himself is unable to wield a sword due to his old age, last time having wielded a blade when showing Ayase the secret technique of Ayatsuji Itto-ryu to Ayase.. Ayase meets a young man wearing an untidy uniform of Donrou Academy and a skull tattooed on his who was walking away from the dojo. The young man, named Kuraudo Kurashiki, laughed at Ayase, while walking away. Ayase wonders who the man was, as she then enters the dojo. Surprisingly, all of the pupils are standing around, very noticeably angry. The pupils tell Ayase that Kuraudo came in and challenged Kaito in to a duel for the ownership of the dojo, despite that the Ayatsuji Itto-ryu style forbids these kinds of duels. Kaito obviously refused Kuraudo's challenge, which caused Kuraudo to inuslt Kaito and call him weak and old. Kaito though tells everyone to calm down and continue their training.
On the next day, Ayase arrives to the dojo again, only to find Kaito alone there. Kaito marks that the others must simply be late, though it's weird for them to be all late at the same time. Kaito decides to personally view Ayase's sword training, though Ayase doesn't let Kaito wield a sword himself. As Kaito teaches Ayase, she feels good that Kaito is teaching her personally in a long time, though she knows that their time together will eventually come to an end, as Kaito's life nears it's end. However, just then one of Kaito's pupils runs in, being covered in bandages and injuries all over his body. The pupil explains that he and the other pupils were ambushed by Kuraudo, who badly beat them all up, with just a stick. The pupil also tells that due to the terrifying experience, the pupils are hospitalized and have decided to stop their training in swordsmanship. Kuraudo himself then enters, marking how unfortunate it is that all of the pupils resigned. Kuraudo then repeats his challenge, which angers Ayase. Kaito though accepts this time, due to Kuraudo directly attacking his students. In the duel, both combatants will use wooden practice swords and usage of magic is unallowed. The winner will be the one who first scores two correct hits. Ayase will act as the judge.
As the match starts, Kuraudo immediately charges at Kaito, swinging his sword with pure strength without any technique. Kaito dodges, the attack, which is strong enough to pierce the floor of the dojo, and attacks with his own, highly skillful, strike. Kuraudo however manages to block Kaito's fast strike, showing inhuman speeds. Kuraudo attacks again, with Kaito deflecting Kuraudo's strike, and delivering a strike of his own, which hits Kuraudo , making Kaito the first one to score a point. Kuraudo however, is unshaken by this, simply rushing with another attack. This time though, when Kaito attempts to deflect the slash, Kuraudo's blade seems to suddenly vanish and appear at a different place, letting him deliver a strike to Kaito's ribs, which breaks some of the old man's bones, and gives Kuraudo his first point. Despite being hit with an extremely powerful attack, Kaito decides to continue the duel. Kaito then charges at Kuraudo, as their swords clash. The two swordsmen exchange attacks, with Kaito being pushed back by Kuraudo's great amount of strength. Kuraudo attempts to use the same kind of attack he used previously, with his sword now appearing atop Kaito's head, striking down. Kaito though manages to barely avoid the attack, though it breaks his collarbone. Kaito and Kuraudo continue their duel, with Kaito keeping his ground despite being tired and beaten. Kaito then decides to use his secret technique, charging at Kuraudo, while the latter slashes at Kaito's head. Due to Kaito's old age, he is unable to use the secret technique, with Kuraudo breaking hos skull with his slash, scoring the final point.
Shocked, Ayase charges at Kuraudo, who easily catches her, and tells her that she should be looking after her father. As Ayase tells the other pupil to call an ambulance, Kuraudo tells her to gather all of their belongings, as the dojo now belongs to Kuraudo as the rules of the match say. Kaito, being knocked unconscious mutters a silent apology to Ayase.
On that day, Ayase lost everything dear to her, with her father still having not woken up. Ayase attempted to challenge Kuraudo numerous times, with Kuraudo ignoring her like a harmless kitten. Ayase decided to face Kuraudo in the Festival, where he would surely appear, as Donrou's strongest knight. Now being a third year, this was her last chance to get into the the Festival and face Kuraudo, which meant she needed to win her selection battles no matter what. She had decided to get back everything Kuraudo took from her and her father, willing to win at any costs.
The tenth round of selection battles begins with Ikki's and Ayase's match being the first one, with, Yuuri Oreki is also serving as one of the commentators. The combatants are introduced and the beginning of the match is declared. Ikki's chances seemed slim, as he won't be able to use 'Ittou Shura', and Ayase had also prepared another trap. Both fighters then manifest their Devices, Ayase wielding her red katana 'Hizume', while Ikki wields his black 'Intetsu'. Ikki immediately leaps towards Ayase, only to be cut by a mysterious unseen force. Ayase's ability is the opening of the wound, which allowed her to manipulate the atmosphere that she cut with her Device, to make invisible traps which, when activated, released numerous vacuum blades. This is her Noble Art 'Mark of the Wind' which she used to set up her traps before the match, which of course was against the rules. If Ikki were to receive even a single slash from Ayase, she could open the wound to make it a deadly injury, which meant he couldn't take even a single hit from Ayase. As Ikki attempts to reaffirm his posture he gets cut by 'Mark of the Wind' from behind. Ayase charges at Ikki, not giving him time to recover, with Ikki being barely able to block all of the attacks. Ikki then attempts to create distance between him and Ayase, with a wide swing, but Ayase manages to deflect the attack, and launch a slash of her own. Ikki however, guards against the attack, with the hilt of his blade. As Ikki and Ayase disengage for a moment, Ikki notes that Ayase was just like he imagined her to be.
Yuuri is smiling at Ikki's words at the commentator booth. Ikki had previously told her that Ayase will undoubtedly cheat, having already figured out Ayase's ability, but he tells Yuuri that he doesn't want her to call of the match when Ayase cheats. Ikki explains that he wants to believe in Ayase, thinking that Ayase has lost sight of herself, which is why Ikki need to wake her pride up.
It's revealed that Ikki was aware of Ayase's traps, having deduced their locations, and having figured out Ayase's tactics. He intentionally triggered some of the traps, to lure Ayase in. Ikki's true goal was to figure out what kind of person Ayase really is, being able to feel her spirit through her swordsmanship, with Ikki managing to deduce that Ayase is wavering due to her underhanded tactics. Ayase though denies Ikki's claim, saying that she just wants to win. Ikki declares that he will bring back Ayase's pride. Despite denying Ikki's claims, Ayase still thinks if Ikki's words are true. As Ikki rushes at Ayase, she attempts to use traps she has planted, but Ikki manages to rush past them, before they open, by using mana emission, a basic technique used by Blazers to enhance their speed, which Ikki normally doesn't use due to his poor amount of mana, but since he won't be able to use his Noble Art 'Ittou Shura', he has enough mana to use it. As Ikki jumps at Ayase, she attempts to slash at Ikki, only to realize she only hit an afterimage created by Ikki' fourth secret sword technique, 'Shinkirou'. As Ayase is open for attack, Ikki uses this opportunity to strike Ayase down, though only having used his <Illusionary Form>. Having been defeated, Ayase finally realizes that she didn't actually want to use the underhanded tactics, realizing her mistakes. She then admits her defeat to Ikki, apologizing to him. Ikki though forgives her, saying that her perception was clouded by her need to win. Ikki promises to research Ayase's situation, and and will help Ayase if she wants to. Hearing Ikki's words, Ayase tearfully asks him to help her, with Ikki promising to help her.
Chapter 4: Decisive Battle: <Failure Knight> vs <Sword Eater>
Ikki is training in the middle of the night in the woods, with Stella arriving and warning him to not overwork his body, as it could affect his upcoming battle. After Ikki's and Ayase's match, Ayase told them about how Kuraudo defeated Kaito and took the dojo from them. Hearing this, Ikki promised to defeat Kuraudo in a dojp challenge, to reclaim what was taken from Ayase. For Ikki, who had idolized Kaito for his entire life, hearing about him being defeated in a contests of swordsmanship is shocking, proving how strong Kuraudo is. Stella asks Ikki if he is nervous about his upcoming encounter, which Ikki admits. Kuraudo is one of Japan's top 8 strongest students, and a third year student. His ability 'Jakkojin' allows him to alter the length of his Device 'Orochimaru', allowing him to attack at any distance. Because of this ability, Kuraudo is the natural enemy of swordsmen, which has earned him the nickname "Sword Eater", though Ikki believes he has something else u his sleeve. Ikki and Stella also hint that there might have been something more to the match between Kuraudo and Kaito during the match, with Ikki wishing to confirm his suspicions.
One the evening of the next day, Ikki, Stella and Ayase are walking towards the Ayatsuji dojo. On their way to there, Ikki reminisces about his youth, when he used to go around Japan, challenging multiple dojos, including Ayatsuji dojo. As they arrive in front of the dojo, they notice that the formerly proud home of swordsmen, has become an abandoned looking shack, with trash and ugly graffiti everywhere. As the approach the dojo's gate, they notice a number of Donrou Academy students talking with each other, and greet them. As the students notice Ikki and the others, they remember him from the restaurant, where Kuraudo smashed a bottle into his head. Ikki explains that he has come to challenge Kuraudo, to which the students laugh, saying that Kuraudo doesn't bother himself with small fry like him, as he should instead fight them. Hearing this, Ikki happily accepts their challenge.
Inside the dojo, there are multiple other students chattering with each other, while Kuraudo is sitting alone, smoking. Hearing the others talk about the same old topics, Kuraudo is very bored, wishing he could participate in the selection battles of other schools. Just then, one of the students calls out to Kuraudo, wanting to talk about the boy and girl who were accompanying Ayase a couple days earlier. The student shows Kuraudo an article about the fight between Ikki and Stella, with Kuraudo recognizing them. The student also tells that Ikki has beaten other strong students, like Renren Tomaru, worrying that they might have screwed with the wrong guy. Kuraudo however is not worried, instead being intrigued by Ikki, wishing to fight him. As Kuraudo is planning a way to get into Hagun Academy, Ikki, Stella and Ayase enter, carrying a bag with them. Seeing them, Kuraudo happily greets the group, telling that he was just wishing to meet Ikki. Ikki tells Kuraudo that he intends on challenging him for the ownership of the dojo. Kuraudo is intrigued by Ikki's challenge, though telling him that he will first need to defeat some of the other students who are outside. However, Ikki then turns the bag he is carrying around, with multiple student datapds, belonging to the Tonru students, drop out. Seeing this, Kuraudo decides to change the rules of their duel a bit, declaring that they will use their real Devices, and the match will be to the death. Ikki accepts Kuraudo's conditions, with the Donrou students along with Stella and Ayase being allowed to watch.
As the match begins, Kuraudo charges at Ikki, swinging his skeletal blade at Ikki with incredible force. Ikki manages to block multiple slashes, being amazed at the power of Kuraudo's amateurish slashes. Ikki then dodges one of his strikes, causing Kuraudo to lose his balance and opening him up for an attack. As Ikki attempts to hit him however, Kuraudo manages to miraculously block his attack. Ikki is confused by Kuraudo's speed, showing ability far beyond a normal human. Kuraudo then pushes Ikki back, creating distance between them. Kuraudo then uses his 'Jakkojin' to extend his Device, attacking Ikki at a longe range, forcing the swordsman to defend, while being unable to reach Kuraudo. Ayase, seeing Kuraudo's continues attacks pressuring Ikki, becomes worried, but Stella assures her, that Ikki isn't going to just sit by and let Kuraudo attack him endlessly. Just then, Ikki dodges one of Kuraudo's attack, and dashes forward, attempting to close the distance between them. However, Kuraudo's Device turns around, chasing after Ikki, as if it had a mind of it's own. As the Device is about to hit him, Ikki sidesteps, evading the attack, having seen through Kuraudo's intentions with his 'Perfect Vision'. Ikki then slashes at the defenseless Kuraudo, an attack which won't be able to block or evade. Miraculously however, Kuraudo manages to duck out of the way of Ikki's slash, something completely out of the realm of normal humans. Kuraudo then quickly retaliates by swinging at Ikki, dislocating his shoulder with the force of his swing. As Ikki attempts to block another one of Kuraudo's slashes, the Sword Eater's blade suddenly vanishes, switching places. Ikki quickly jumps back, barely being able to evade the slash, with his clothes only getting cut. However, Ikki declares that he has figured out Kuraudo's real power, which allowed him to beat Kaito.
Hearing Ikki's statement, Ayase asks if Kuraudo's ability is some kind of cheat or trick, which Ikki denies. Instead he tell that Kuraudo's real power is his reflexive sensitivity. Ikki explains that every being requires some time to react to any kind of event. For normal humans, this reaction time is normally 0.3 seconds, while professional sprinters are able to react in 0.15 seconds. A normal human should never however be able to react in less then 0.1 seconds. However, Kuraudo is able to react at least in 0.05 seconds or even faster. Even skilled fighters like Ikki and Stella can only reach a reaction speed of 0.13 seconds, making Kuraudo far above any other human. Thanks to this abnormally fast reaction time, Kuraudo is able to evade seemingly unavoidable attacks, and able to make his slashes seemingly vanish, by quickly changing the direction of his attack. Hearing Ikki's explanation, Kuraudo laughingly admits that he is right, saying that he is the first one to figure out his ability, which he calls 'Marginal Counter'. However, Kuraudo notes that although Ikki figured it out, he can do nothing about it, as it isn't an art or a cheat, but a special trait, which he has always had, claiming that Ikki has not even seen the limit of his ability. Kuraudo then attacks Ikki, using a technique called 'Hebigami', which allows him to attack twice in the same instant, thanks to his amazing speed. Ikki attempts to jump back, but Kuraudo simply extends his sword's length, leaving forcing Ikki to attempt to block the attacks. Despite the immense speed of the attacks, Ikki is able to block them both, by grabbing the blade of his sword, shortening his reach, but allowing him better control of the blade, which lets him block the attacks. Seeing Ikki's new trick however, Kuraudo attacks him even faster, now releasing four simultaneous attacks, with Ikki only being able to block two, getting cut by the two remaining attack.
Ikki is forced to only defend against Kuraudo's endless onslaught of attacks, receiving multiple wounds. Seeing this, Ayase demands that Stella stop the fight, not wanting for Ikki to get hurt. Stella, although admitting that if the battle continues on like this Ikki will lose, still refuses to stop the match. As Ayase questions Stella's actions, she tells her to take a closer look at Ikki. Looking at him, Ayase notices that Ikki is smiling, having fun despite being on the verge of losing. Ayase is confused by this, with Stella asking her about the match with Kaito, asking if Kaito really regretted the match with Kuraudo. While Ayase is further confused by her question, Stella again asks if an ambitious swordsman like Kaito, would be content with living the rest of his days training others, while being unable to fight himself, noting that maybe facing a strong and ambitious opponent like Kuraudo, was actually something he needed. Hearing Stella's words, Ayase remembers the fight between Kaito and Kuraudo, realizing that Kaito was actually having fun fighting the "Sword Eater". Furthermore, Ayase realizes that Kaito wasn't actually apologizing to her or the other pupils, but to Kuraudo, for not being able to show everything he had.
A loud clash is heard, as both combatants finally disengage. Ikki, being covered in wounds, is breathing heavily, but isn't the only one who is tired. Kuraudo, although seemingly having the advantage for the entire match, was as tired as Ikki. Seeing the situation, Stella and Ayase realize the weakness of Kuraudo's 'Marginal Counter', which is that it requires a lot of stamina from the user. Ikki, having battled defensively for the entire match, had managed to finally exhaust Kuraudo, although he too had lost most of his stamina. Realizing, Ikki's tactic, Kuraudo is very impressed by the swordsman. Ikki and Kuraudo note how much fun the match has been, laughing happily. Kuraudo though claims that he will finish the match with his next attack, with Ikki saying that that is also his intention. As the fighters ready themselves, Ikki asks Kuraudo if Kaito was smiling like they are now in his match against Kuraudo, with Kuraudo telling him not to asks such an obvious question, saying that there's no way someone named the "Last Samurai" wouldn't enjoy such fun. They then charge at each other.
Kuraudo uses his strongest technique 'Yamata no Orochi', which lets him release eight simultaneous attacks. However, even when faced with such a magnificent attack, Ikki didn't waver and instead charges towards Kuraudo. Kuraudo however, feels an all encumbering aura of danger exerting from Ikki. Despite this danger, Kuraudo chooses to face him head on, realizing that his wish will finally be granted. Ever since Kuraudo's match against Kaito, he had wished to see Kaito's ultimate technique, having an already lost hope of ever witnessing it. Now however, after two years of waiting, he can finally face it. Declaring that it was worth waiting for, Kuraudo clashes with Ikki, with blood spilling into the air. The blood of Kuraudo.
Seeing Ikki cut Kuraudo, Ayase realizes that he had used the technique only Kaito was capable of, the secret technique of Ayatsuji Itto-ryu, 'Ten' Muhou', the ultimate counter-attack which allowed the user to dodge all attacks, with using minimal movement. Ikki, having watched many of Kaito's duels in his youth, had managed to replicate his strongest technique. Kuraudo, despite blood flowing out of his fatal wound, still refuses to fall, managing to stand up. He notes how 'Ten'i Muhou' was really as amazing as he hoped, asking Ikki's name. As Ikki tells it to him, Kuraudo declares that they'll continue their fight in the Seven Stars Sword Art Festival. As Kuraudo starts walking away, Ikki asks about the dojo, with Kuraudo telling that he can do whatever he wants with it, as there is no reason for Kuraudo to wait there anymore. When Kuraudo and the other Donrou students exit, he collapses out of exhaustion, finally falling unconsciousness.
Stella immediately hugs Ikki, telling him to be less reckless, noting that he can barely stand himself. Stella then tells Ayase to stop Ikki's bleeding with the first aid kit she had brought, while she calls the sensei to help Ikki. Ayase then thanks Ikki, as he helped her understand her father's real feelings, noting how she probably is the one who knows the least about her own father. Ikki though tells that he was able to win only because of the teachings which Ayase was able to master from her father, saying that Ayase understands her father the most, as his successor. Hearing Ikki's words, Ayase happily says that she will then have to get stronger as the successor of her father, strong enough to beat Kuraudo by herself, with Ikki saying that he will be looking forward to it.
Epilogue: Glacial Smile
On the very next day, a newspaper article about Ikki's and Kuarudo's match is released by none other than Kagami Kusakabe, a member of the new newspaper club, who had secretly followed Ikki and the others and even managed to take a couple of pictures. The incident made Ikki even more famous, having defeated the ace of Donrou Academy. His continues victories have even lead some people to consider him the strongest student in the school, possibly surpassing the president of the student council, "Raikiri" Tohka Todo.
A week later, Ikki and Stella are sitting on a bench, having finished their training session. Ikki tells Stella, that he received a message from Ayase, telling that Kaito had managed to regain consciousness. Ayase had also confessed to the school that she had cheated in the selection matches, which caused her to be suspended from school for 7 days. Ikki and Stella though both believe that it'll be good for her to be away from school, as she can now spend time with her father, though they also think that she sadly won't be joining them on their training anymore. Just then, Ikki receives a call from Ayase, only to hear Kaito's voice on the other end. Kaito having heard about Ikki, immediately requests him to take over his dojo and marry Ayase, with Ayase knocking him off the phone. She apologizes to Ikki and thanks him while Kaito still teases her. As the call ends, Ikki and Stella note that it's a bit weird that neither Shizuku or Alice have come to train. Being alone, they get closer and are about to kiss, as they hear a voice of another person, that being Alice. Alice, who was spying on them, congratulates them on having become so close, with Ikki and Stella being surprised he knows about their relationship. Alice explains that he has had a hunch for some time, but was able to only confirm it now, although promising not to tell anyone. Ikki and Stella also ask him where Shizuku is, with Alice telling that she is training by herself, wanting to prepare for her upcoming selection match. Ikki and Stella ask who Shizuku's next opponent is, and Alice tells them that she will be facing the strongest student of the school, the student council president herself.
Shizuku is training in the sixth battle arena, defeating fifty students, though still being unsatisfied at the challenge. Shizuku then thinks about her opponent, who is not only the strongest student at Hagun, but also one of the top 4 strongest knights of Japan, third year student Touka Toudou. Despite the strength of the opponent, Shizuku can't help but be excited, getting to face someone so strong, with all of her power.
|Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry Light Novel SeriesThe|
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