Ryuu Kusari no Ori -Kokoro no Uchi no “Kokoro”-


Chapter 6.26

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Chapter 6.26

A shadow ran through the back alleys of the residential area, slightly away from the hustle and bustle of the commercial district.

After running for a while, the shadow looked behind it several times and then dropped its shoulders in relief.

"Good grief, they got me. I never thought I'd be spotted by the military police at a place like this..."

The shadow figure was Zonne, who had been taken away by the military police officers due to a slight misunderstanding.

However, it could be said that he deserved it because of his usual behavior.

The old man looked up at the sky with a strangely serious face as he brushed the dust from his clothes.

"I had a hard time shaking off my pursuers, but it's all right now. Anyway, now is an important time. I must hurry and find that boy."

His eyes were so dignified that it was hard to imagine from his usual words and deeds. He had the same atmosphere as when he sent the Metal Dragon to Nozomu and his friends in the forest.

"I have a bad feeling about this. I hope nothing bad happens..."

With an indescribable strong will in his eyes, the old man quickly disappeared into the streets of Arcazam.

It was as if he was being rushed by something.


The betrayal of her childhood friend and her own mistake. Before Lisa could accept it, the battle began.

The battle between her childhood friends unfolded in front of her eyes. Ken's face was distorted into a hideous shape as he slashed at Nozomu. His appearance was so hostile and full of murderous intent that Lisa had never seen before.

On the other hand, Nozomu was exchanging blows with Ken with almost no change in his expression. However, despite his non-existence-like expression, there was a glimpse of a strong will in Nozomu's eyes.

It was the very image of Nozomu that she had been attracted to back home.

Such Nozomu's figure also pierced Lisa's heart sharply. She was faced with the fact that she hadn't seen Nozomu at all this whole time.

She wanted to close her eyes. She wanted to cover her ears. She wanted to pretend she never saw him.

But she couldn't turn her eyes away.

Lisa's body was completely stiff, her legs were shaking and she couldn't move, and she couldn't even take her eyes off the battle unfolding in front of her.

The battle in front of her went on continuously, and Lisa was tossed around like a bamboo boat swallowed by a torrent.

As the high-pitched sound of blades colliding against each other echoed in her ears, she could only stand stunned.

In the meantime, the battle between the two was gradually gaining momentum.

"Zeeeii !"

The longsword swung down along with Ken's angry shout. Nozomu tried to parry Ken's blade to the side and step in at the same time. However, the longsword that Ken swiftly pulled back restrained his movement.

Nozomu gave up on stepping forward and quickly stepped back, aligning his katana with Ken's slash. The longsword that was swung horizontally was deflected by the direction of the force.


It pa.s.sed right in front of Nozomu while making a deafening sound.


At the same time, Nozomu stepped in again and swung his katana. This time, Ken turned his head away as quickly as he could, and Nozomu's katana blade pa.s.sed right in front of his eyes.

The wind pressure from the blade brushes Ken's hair away, and the katana blade swept across his cheek.

Ken gritted his teeth at the tension running down his spine and the discomfort and hatred stirring in his chest.

"Take this!"

Ken stepped forward again, trying to get rid of that sticky discomfort.

"I'm the one who should be by Lisa's side! If I defeat you here, I'll be by Lisa's side this time ......!"

Ken continued to swing his longsword with a cornered expression on his face. The words that came out of his throat were cold and pitiful.

However, with each blow, Ken's longsword blew through the air, giving off a sense of intimidation that made Nozomu's spine tense up.

Ken was a third-year and first-cla.s.s student and someone who had received an A-rank. Not even many school graduates were given A-rank.

Ken's swordsmanship moved without stopping.

Even to the untrained eye, he displayed a level of skill and strength that set him apart from other swordsmen.

But .......

"Fu~, ha~, shi~!"

Ken's swordsmanship couldn't reach Nozomu's body at all.

The slash he fired was easily avoided, and the blow, which he swung with all his momentum, only cut through the empty air.

"d.a.m.n, this b.a.s.t.a.r.d ..."

Ken quickly pulled back the longsword he had swung and launched it again into a diagonal slash while putting his weight into it. At the same time, Nozomu lowered his hips and stepped forward to parry Ken's attack.

Nozomu's katana was unable to completely parry Ken's sword, and the two clashed in a fierce fight.



Ken's face broke into a smile as he realized it was a contest of strength. The difference in physical ability between Nozomu and Ken was obvious.

He was going to push Nozomu over the edge and cut him down. With that thought in his mind, Ken tried to push Nozomu away by force while their weapons were still locked together.

But just as Ken was about to put in his strength, Nozomu relaxed his arms.

The longsword blade, which was glistening with the intent to kill, quickly closed in on Nozomu and tried to crush his head.

However, just as the approaching blade was about to touch Nozomu's face, Nozomu's figure disappeared from Ken's sight.

"Wha~ ... Gua!"

At the same time, a wind rushed by Ken's side, sending a sharp pain through his arm.

While biting his lip and enduring the pain, Ken looked down at his arm and saw that his arm had been slashed and his pure white uniform was starting to turn red.

And behind Ken, Nozomu was standing at the situation while being alert.

The moment his head was about to be crushed, Nozomu lowered himself to the ground and activated his [Instant Move -Curve Dance-]. In the blink of an eye, he had run past Ken and struck him in the arm.

The human eye had a harder time discerning targets that are moving up and down than left and right. It was even more difficult when the target was at close range and moving up, down, left, and right at the same time.

However, what should be noted more than that was Nozomu's boldness and concentration to take this measure without hesitation and succeed in a situation where his head could be crushed if he missed it even for a moment.

"~! ... You b.a.s.t.a.r.d!"

The wound itself was not deep, but the pain and humiliation due to the wound on his arm made Ken's face distort.

An opponent with overwhelmingly inferior physical abilities than him.

A blow delivered by an enemy who should be behind him in terms of ability.

The image of Nozomu exchanging blows with Jihad came back to Ken's mind.

It was a fight that all the people in the arena had admired. And the pain in his arm clearly pointed out a fact to Ken.

(In close-quarter combat, Nozomu is far superior to Ken.)

As if to shake off this fact from his mind, Ken sent his magic power into his longsword and stepped towards Nozomu with all his might. For Ken, it was unacceptable to be even slightly inferior to Nozomu.

He strengthened his entire body with strengthening magic.

With a burst of sound as if the air were popping, Ken accelerated instantly. He closed the gap with Nozomu at once and swung his longsword which was strengthened with magic power.

A longsword clad in a dazzling blue magical light. The blow that came from a body that had been strengthened to its fullest potential had the power to slice through even a well-honed steel sword.



But to his surprise, Nozomu intercepted Ken's blow head-on.

In an instant, Nozomu's katana was covered with a blade of Qi. With a light enveloping its entire blade, Nozomu raised his katana without a moment's hesitation.

The two blades collide in midair.

Nozomu's blow, which was swung up to match Ken's slash, made a high-pitched sound and scattered blue magical light in the air. Ken's slash did not reach Nozomu's body and deflected to the side.

"Tch~ !"

Biting his lips, Ken didn't give up and launched two or three slashes.

However, Nozomu quickly intercepted Ken's slashes. Nozomu launched his own slash in time towards the slash that approached him, deflecting his opponent's attacks and causing his body to flow sideways.

"This is……"

When Ken saw Nozomu's movement, the battle of a few days ago at the martial arts garden came back to his mind.

It was a trained concentration, sense of balance, and mastery of the katana technique. It was a technique Nozomu had used when he fought against Jihad by using the power of his opponent's slash to parry.

"I think I got the hang of it."

"Kuh !?"

Perhaps he had learned something from the combat training with Jihad, Nozomu was able to pull off a series of skilled moves that no ordinary swordsman would ever be able to pull off with the ease of a wave of his hand.

"Nozomu !!"

Ken's slashes increased in speed as he shouted wildly. But in Nozomu's eyes, he could clearly see the trajectory of Ken's slashes two or three moves ahead.

A slash at his left shoulder

A diagonal slash at his right shoulder

A lateral slash at his right side

Certainly, there was a huge gap between Ken and Nozomu in terms of sword speed, power, and magic power. Ken's sword technique itself was also equivalent to that of an A rank.

However, the fact that Lisa learned the truth about his trickery and his hatred for Nozomu had caused him to explode, and his face was clearly showing his inner emotions.

On the other hand, the current Nozomu was extremely calm and collected. There was not a hint of agitation he had shown when he fought Ken in the past.

Nozomu's eyes were as sharp as an eagle's, and he could see Ken's movements in the blink of an eye.

His muscles flexed like a whip, working in tandem without any stagnation, concentrating all his strength into the tip of his katana, which he wielded without a shred of waste.

And the katana blade that was raised was sometimes as light as a willow, and sometimes as wild as a storm, warding off the calamity that fell upon its owner, Nozomu.

"d.a.m.n, d.a.m.n, d.a.m.n!"

Ken gritted his teeth as he looked at Nozomu, who kept on parrying the slashes he launched.

The two of them continued to exchange blows, barely moving from their place.

The sound of metal colliding resounded around them, and the two of them were surrounded by glittering sparks and blue magical light.

Yes, it was only the magic light that was flying in the air!

Ken's magic power was overwhelmingly larger than Nozomu's.

So it wouldn't be strange if Ken's attacks, which should exceed that of Nozomu's, one-sidedly pushed Nozomu's katana.

However, in reality, what happened was the opposite. Nozomu's blade continued to chip away at Ken's magic sword.

The Qi blade, adjusted by Nozomu's outstanding control, became a strip of light that struck Ken's blue magic sword, which was covered with a thick layer of light, and with a high-pitched sound, the magic in the longsword was blown away.


Every time he received Nozomu's attack, Ken increased his magic power to keep his magic sword from fizzling out, but every time he did, he definitely lost the ability to maintain his magic sword. In contrast, Nozomu's Qi blade consumes very little Qi.

Ken's magic sword was gradually becoming unstable. At the same time, Nozomu gradually increased the amount of Qi in his katana blade, and further increased the compression of Qi.

Ken's cheeks twitched as Nozomu's blade became even sharper than before. It was far more swift than the blade he had just fought before.

Contrary to Ken's agitation, Nozomu's facial expression hadn't changed. Although he created a blade that was far sharper than Ken's magic sword, Nozomu still had many hidden cards.

Qi was extremely compressed at once, and another Qi blade was attached to the already existing Qi blade. That's right, it was his Qi technique [Phantom].

"Haa~ ...!"

While exhaling and with a burst of energy, Nozomu threw a slash with his katana.

Nozomu's Qi, which could cut even Jihad's shield into pieces, drew a circular trajectory and dove like a meteor in a straight line toward the longsword that was swung down.

At the same time, Nozomu and Ken heard a clear, squealing sound. A clear sound echoed in Nozomu and Ken's ears. Nozomu's katana sliced through Ken's magic sword like it was paper, slicing the blade in half.


Ken shouted in agitation as his beloved sword was reduced to its hilt and half-body. But in that split second, the tip of Nozomu's katana was already at Ken's throat.



Ken groaned and Nozomu remained silent.

"This is a lie... It can't be ended up like this..."

Ken was shocked when confronted with the reality that he tried to deny. But his face was immediately distorted by humiliation, and he turned his pitch-black hatred that was as murky as dirt, toward Nozomu.

"... It's over, Ken. Be quiet."

While being exposed to Ken's hatred head-on, Nozomu nonchalantly announced it was the end.

Having caused so much commotion, his nearby friends and the military police officers would be rushing over soon.

There was no way Ken could escape now that the criminal had already been identified. Even if he managed to escape, he would never be able to get out of this city.

However, Ken didn't care what Nozomu said, he was still clinging to his own delusion.

"There's no way! I've been protecting Lisa up until now! She and I will continue to be ......"

But Ken, who insisted that he had been protecting Lisa without realizing his own "escape," made Nozomu's face distorted at once.

"~! Do you really think that Lisa wants to be with you now?! Do you really want to make her make that expression?!"

As if prompted by Nozomu's words, Ken turns his gaze toward Lisa.

Lisa had been shaking her knees and was just dumbfounded watching the battle unfolding in front of her. Lisa and Ken's gazes cross

" ~!"


At that moment, Lisa's body shook with fear. The blood drained from her face, which had turned pale with fright and regret.

Her weakened expression pierced Ken's heart.

At the same time, Ken was reminded that their relationship, which had been built on lies, had completely collapsed.

"It shouldn't be like this. It shouldn't be ..."

"I thought our promise was to protect Lisa's dream. What you did was no way to protect Lisa!"

Ken was confronted with the fact that he had been hurting the people he cared about the most, and he backed away in dismay.

However, Ken, who had escaped into a world of delusion until now, could not accept this fact. He just shook his head and continued to turn away from the truth in front of him.

There was no trace of Nozomu's best friend, who had once vowed to support Lisa's dream.

"Lisa has to be with me. I'm the one who has to protect her. That's right, not Nozomu, it's me..."

"Ken ...!"

Nozomu had a complicated expression on his face when he saw his best friend had completely lost his way, even though it was Ken himself who dropped himself that low. Anger, hatred, pity, sadness. A variety of emotions. .h.i.t Nozomu's heart.

However, contrary to Nozomu's feelings, Ken did not reflect on his own actions but rather locked himself away in his own closed world.

"That's right, it was all because of you ... If it wasn't for you, none of this would have happened!"

Originally, Ken's fear of losing Lisa, his jealousy of Nozomu, and most importantly, his belief that Nozomu couldn't get any stronger, were the things that led him astray.

But now that he was faced with Nozomu's strength, which he himself had denied, his jealousy of Nozomu grew even greater, and his fear of losing Lisa grew to an extreme level.

And his narrow and weak mind couldn't stand the jealousy and fear that were coming over him.

That was why Ken couldn't get rid of his anxiety because he was convinced that he could get rid of it by defeating Nozomu, the cause of his problems.

" ~!"

Ken tried to leap backward to escape from Nozomu's katana, but, of course, Nozomu wasn't going to let that happen.

Nozomu stepped forward with his katana, which was still enveloped in Qi, to make sure Ken didn't escape. He aimed for Ken's feet.

The impact of the burst of Qi stopped Ken in his tracks, and he was pinned down. Even if Ken tried to use magic, the pain would make it difficult for him to cast a technique.

Although Nozomu's Qi techniques had too much killing power, there was no problem as long as the target wasn't the opponent himself.

Ken was trying to convince himself that Nozomu was inferior to him. If Ken were to fall behind in a head-on fight, and if he were to be knocked down and made completely unable to resist, Nozomu might be able to completely break Ken's will to fight.

It would completely shatter Ken's false delusion.

Ken has done so many evil deeds that he deserves this. It was obvious that his future would be bleak.

But still, Nozomu didn't hesitate.

The katana blade that drew a flowing curve was about to release a flying Qi blade attached to its body.

"This is the end ... gah~!"

But at that moment, a thunderous pain shot through Nozomu's brain. Nozomu's movement was delayed for a moment, and in that gap, Ken had jumped backward and out of Nozomu's attack range.

"~! You ..."


Tiamat's face appeared in Nozomu's mind.

The eyes of the giant dragon that stared at Nozomu seemed to ask, "Why don't you kill the enemy in front of you?". But Nozomu ignored Tiamat's protests and stepped forward.

There was no way he was going to listen to Tiamat right now.

While gritting his teeth and enduring the headache, Nozomu tried to close the gap with his instant move.

Ken had started chanting, holding up the long sword that had been cut in half. Nozomu thought it might be [Icicle Dance] or [Piercing Water Fountain], but the sight of Ken raising an object that was already useless as a sword raised a question mark in his mind.


Ken thrust out his longsword. The next moment, blue magic light gushed out, and an ice sword extended in a straight line toward Nozomu.

"Wha~ ...!"

Nozomu immediately jumped to the side to get out of the way of the approaching ice sword. Fortunately, the ice sword did not catch Nozomu's body.

The ice sword was as clear as crystal.

As he left the place, a spear-like blade shattering the stone floor behind him, Nozomu glanced over at Ken and saw Ken swing his outstretched arm.

The ice sword, which had been extended like a spear, had countless knots in it, and then it snapped like a whip and came at Nozomu again.

Nozomu quickly lowered his body and threw himself down to dive under the ice sword that was being swung at him. The ice sword pa.s.sed over Nozomu's head with a paper-thin margin and then returned to its owner, Ken, like an obedient dog.

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"What is ... that?"

"Die, die!"

As soon as Ken swung his arm, and as if to answer his murderous intent, countless ice blades exploded and rushed at Nozomu.

When Nozomu saw the ice blades raining on him, he mobilized every muscle in his body to change the direction of his rush.

However, that was not enough to avoid them. A shower of ice raining on him like a shower. Nozomu's physical ability was not enough to escape from its attack range.

The corner of Ken's eyes smiled as he pictured Nozomu being pierced by the ice blades and covered in blood.

Ken thought that was the end. Ken's eyes shone with antic.i.p.ation as he felt a slight sense of satisfaction, but in the next moment, his eyes were colored with shock.

"W-what the f*ck?"

The rain of ice blades slammed into the ground. Nozomu appeared as if he were breaking through it.

His body was slightly injured, but his momentum had hardly diminished.

The sound of explosions echoed again as Nozomu re-accelerated with his blinding speed. He lunged in a straight line toward Ken.

"Ku~! How!"

(How on earth!? How did he get through that rain of ice blades?)

A series of questions came to his mind as he witnessed the unexpected scene, Ken swung his magic sword two or three times, shooting down a rain of ice blades towards Nozomu.


Judging that he couldn't avoid it, what Nozomu did was quite simple. It was to break through the center of the ice rain.

Once again, Nozomu used his [Instant Move -Curve Dance-] to develop a complex curved movement. He ran through the gaps in the ice rain, escaping as much as possible from the area of effect of the falling blades ice.

However, that alone was not enough to break through the swarm of ice blades unscathed. Some of the blades that rushed in were sure to reach Nozomu's body.


The moment Nozomu saw the ice blades approaching him, he swung his Qi-enveloped katana. A layer of Qi was formed in front of Nozomu. The fan-shaped layer of Qi formed to block the approaching ice blades and repel them.

It was, without a doubt, a Qi layer created by the Qi technique [Fan Shaped Sail].

Originally, the [Fan Shaped Sail] technique involved swinging the katana in a circular motion to form a Qi layer, but the Qi layer could not be maintained for long.

In addition, there was a gap when he swung his katana, and judging that it was impossible to overcome the continuous rain of ice blades, Nozomu chose to swing his katana slightly to minimize the gap as much as possible and form a fan-shaped layer of Qi.

However, this would result in a smaller layer of Qi being formed. Therefore, Nozomu decided to avoid the opponent's ice blades with [Instant Move -Curve Dance-] and to block the ones he couldn't avoid with [Fan Shaped Sail].

It wouldn't be enough to block magic with great penetration power, like [Icicle Dance], but if it was just a few blades of ice then it would be enough to repel them using [Fan Shaped Sail] without releasing his ability suppression.

Using [Instant Move -Curve Dance-] originally required a high sense of balance. And [Fan Shaped Sail] was also a Qi technique that needed to be used carefully due to its short duration.

However, Nozomu had mastered such Qi techniques and continued to repel the storm of ice blades.

"N-no way...... but!"

Ken was agitated to see Nozomu able to break through his attacks almost unscathed, but regained his composure when he saw that his opponent was almost inside the snake-like sword attack range.

In addition to the rain of ice blades, Ken thought that he could use his sword to attack in waves, which would help him fight Nozomu back quickly.

The moment Nozomu got into Ken's attack range, Ken found the right moment and launched his [Crawling Snake Fangs].

Along with a launching sound, the tip of the snake-like sword lunged toward Nozomu, ready to plunge its fangs into him.

Nozomu's eyes fixed on the tip of the approaching snake-like sword.

He held his katana out as if to thrust it out.

In the blink of an eye, the two approaching blades intersected.

At that moment, Nozomu took another step forward, while swinging his katana to the back to deflect the path of the snake-like sword. His plan was to close the distance between him and Ken.

"It's futile!"

However, as if to block Nozomu's thrust, the snake-like sword expanded.

The sword seemed to be about to explode at any moment. Countless blades of ice stood upside down, waiting for the moment when they would be unleashed in search of the blood of their prey.

But the next moment, Ken's eyes widened at the sight that jumped into his eyes. With a twist of his wrist, Nozomu had entangled the blade of the snake-like sword, which was about to explode, with his katana.


In less than a second, the snake-like double-edged sword which was fully infused with magic will explode. Nozomu's act was suicidal.

There was no way for him to escape at that close range, and even if he were to deploy a layer of Qi, it will not be able to withstand such a close-range explosion.

There was nothing Nozomu could do. Ken was sure of that.

However, that conviction was soon overturned.

The explosion was less than half a second away. Nozomu sent his Qi into the katana and compressed it extremely fast in a moment that exceeded a second. The Qi on his katana blade exploded into countless needles.

Qi technique [One Billion Severance]

The blade of Qi that exploded at such zero distance pierced Ken's snake-like sword, which was also swollen and about to explode, and crushed it from the middle.

"Wha~ !!"

Shortly after Ken made a surprised voice, Nozomu filled his legs with Qi and released it. The explosion was so close that Nozomu was pierced by the exploding ice shards. He was bleeding, but he didn't care.

Ken's trump card was shattered, and before he could recover, Nozomu quickly closed the gap.

"Fuu, fuu ... haa!"

At the same time, he sheathed his katana and sent his Qi into it, and started compressing the Qi extremely again.

He had already used a lot of Qi and was starting to breathe heavily, but Nozomu had no intention of retreating at this point.

Nozomu, who had completely caught his opponent inside his attack range, was about to pull the katana out of its sheath.

Ken still had a hint of impatience on his face.

He was convinced that Ken was not going to move at all from [Phantom] attack range even if the distance was shortened

(Ken can't move while using his [Crawling Snake Fangs].)

However, if he thought about it, it was reasonable. A magic sword that could enable long-range attacks and direct attacks at the same time. It took an incredibly high level of concentration to maintain such a high level of magic.

As Nozomu had discovered, when Ken was deploying this magic, he was so busy controlling it that he could barely move.

Starlight illuminated the blade peeking out from its sheath, and the shining blade glowed in the moonlight.

And just as Nozomu was about to draw his katana, Ken's mind reflected himself being cut down by Nozomu.

The figure of himself crawling on the ground.

The figure of his beloved Lisa disappeared into the darkness.

He tried to raise his voice, but his voice could not reach her as she was roped and trapped in narrow prison.

He felt a sense of emptiness and loss as if a hole had been left in his heart. It was the same feeling that he had felt since he saw Nozomu and Lisa first start walking together.

"I don't want it"

The sense of loss that he remembered again fueled Ken's sense of crisis about losing Lisa. It was like the magma of a volcano, raging and exploding at once.

"I-I don't want it ... I don't want it!"

A burst of emotion and the sound of something snapping echoed in Ken's head, and Ken's senses were sharpened all at once.

A feeling he had never experienced before. He felt as if he were floating on water. Ken could see everything with his eyes, and even the magic power surrounding his own body.

The [Crawling Snake Fangs] that was crushed by Nozomu.

The magic sword that he had struggled so much to control was now as comfortable in his hands as if it were his own limb. He could feel everything about the flow of magic power inside it.

It was very similar to the time Nozomu was immersed in extreme concentration.

Was it the result of his delusion, or was it a miracle of his fear that things would fall apart? Either way, Ken had exceeded his limits at this very moment.

In an instant, he understood the inner structure of the magic sword and repaired it. In addition, to avoid being noticed by Nozomu, he moved the sword using only magic power and launched a surprise attack from outside Nozomu's field of vision.

The half-shattered tip of Ken's [Crawling Snake Fangs] lifted up and lunged towards Nozomu's defenseless back.

(This is over!)

Ken was convinced of his victory and his mouth lifted up.

However, Nozomu went even further than that.

As the snake-like double-edged sword was about to pierce the back of Nozomu's head, Nozomu's eyes squinted. The next moment, Nozomu's body, which was about to draw his katana, spun on the spot.


Nozomu turned around in an instant, leaving Ken's dumbfounded words behind, and used the sheath of his katana to brush away the snake-like sword that was about to pierce the back of his head.

He then stepped forward again. This time, he drew his katana as if to cut off everything in his path.

Ken tried to pull the magic sword back, but it was too late, and Nozomu's katana blade sliced deep into Ken's right arm and chest.


A moment of silence.

Then, along with the sound of something dripping down, a red flower blooms on the white stone floor.

"A-, aaaaaaaaa!"

Ken's scream echoed through the air.

At the same time, Ken's [Crawling Snake Fangs] shattered with a cracking sound and vanished like a haze.

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