Part 4 should be up in about a week to a week and a half. Believe me I am just as impatient (if not more so) to read this as y’all.
Here is the 3rd part of the commissioned translation, edited and revised by AP24
“It’s so loud!”
“My ears hurt..!”
“Beat him to a pulp!!”
“Don’t lose, Ikki-kun! You can win this!!”
With Ikki having activated Ittou Shura, the match would be decided here and now. Stella was meeting him head-on. The crowd roared as they clashed in the center of the ruined ring. Their attention was fixed entirely on their opponent. Their eyes saw only each other.
Every cell quivered with the urge to strike.
Ikki’s arms became numb after receiving Stella’s blade that was like a struck of lightning.
(The attacks her blade is returning are rapidly getting faster!)
‘Madoka’ is a technique that receives the impact from a blade and returning it back through circulation by rotating the body, but among the exchange of countless sword attacks the speed of Stella’s strikes were increasing and so the rotation’s initial motion wouldn’t make it in time. She’s growing. In the midst of this raging battle, Stella’s body, her sword, was evolving at tremendous speed to overcome him. At this rate, he would be overtaken by her next attack. But…
(I’m also growing right now!)
In an instant, during the shrieking yell where there was a slash that was like a black flash, Stella’s eyes widened. Why? It was because Ikki’s attack had changed form.
(Just now, he didn’t spin his body….!)
Until now he would block her blade, then immediately spin his body like a top to return her attack. That was his way of fighting against Stella’s attacks. But this time, Ikki was releasing his attacks without blocking at all. It was not attack and defense, but a clash of attack after attack. Normally this would be a good thing for Stella because in a battle of sheer strength it would be impossible for Stella to lose. But the unbelievable had just happened. As their blades clashed, Stella’s blade was the one slightly driven back. Why? There could only be one reason. She understood from the numbness in her arms.‘Madoka’.
After realizing that he was falling behind with the body-rotating ‘Madoka’, Ikki had revised his own technique in the middle of this high-speed match. Instead of using spinning, the shock of impact that entered from his arm was not stopped there and was circulated by his upper body’s muscle control through the crossing of latissimus dorsi (broadest back muscle), and during that moment it was returned back to the opponent in the form of his own slashing.
But it wouldn’t be possible to do so if his whole body stiffened even slightly. If it stiffened, the shock of impact that entered would explode there. All of his muscles would have to be relaxed without end like almost liquid. Much softer than they would be even during sleep. -In the midst of their raging battle, that is. At the man in front of her eyes who could do that, Stella looked with horror.
What a guy. Unbelievable.
But at the same time, flames rose up within her chest. As if she would just sit back and lose. If the other person was going to get stronger, then she too-
(I’ll just smash the blow that can’t be parried!)
The moment Ikki’s ‘Madoka’ evolved, the way they fought changed severely. It was no longer a trade of attack and defense, but a clashing of two head-on assaults. Neither one spared any defense, relying entirely on their own attack to drive each other back.
Ikki was trying to overcome her with speed. Stella was trying to overcome him with power. They gave everything they had. Steels of souls clashing. The sparks filled the air, shining more radiantly than the night lights and the ring of their blades echoed all the way to the highest seats. Every person watching could see it clearly.
Both were wielding their sword with the intent to kill. In the exchange of slashes, there was no hesitation at all.
Whoever was falling behind even slightly would be killed. Even though they were supposed to be a couple in love. But not a single person who saw the scene doubted their love. It’s because…
Those two who were fixed entirely on each other, improving each other – looked like dancing hand in hand.
Seeing their appearance, Shizuku muttered, “I’m envious of Stella-san…”
“If the opponent was me, Onii-sama would never be so heated up. I’m certain he would hold back to stop from hurting or breaking his opponent. But… it’s different with Stella-san. He’s hitting everything he has against Stella-san. Because he believes… if it’s her she can take everything that he has to offer…”
What a truly awful woman, Shizuku thought. Getting upset and sulky every time I dabble a little with my own brother. But what’s the problem.
“Even like this, in Onii-sama’s eyes there was no one else but you….”
“How amazing. Vermillion and Kurogane both.” The one amazed was Shinguuji Kurono who was watching over the fight in a place not far from Shizuku and the others. “Every time they’re exchanging attacks, they are improving at terrifying speed.” Skill, power, speed, everything was. The scene was like two gems grind against each other. The shine was increasing the beauty as their speed increased. But Saikyo Nene who was of course nearby spoke.
“Well of course. Those two are rivals, after all.”
“…I see. That is true.”
Kurono agreed with Saikyo’s words. They could remember it again. At just about the same age as Stella and Ikki. An opponent that it was worth dying to win against was there. The Seven Stars Sword Art Festival final match where they ruthlessly facing such opponent. Both Saikyo and Kurono remembered every minute of it. It was a fulfilling time. The tens of minutes where they didn’t want to lose to just the other person, showing all kinds of deadly power. A fight that tested their ability more than any other fight ever had or ever would. The passionate moment to the degree of the feeling of wanting to embrace the opponent they hate enough to kill. Right now Ikki and Stella were the same as them from that day, in the middle of a glorious time. No, they had gone beyond that. Because they were not only strongest rivals, but also beloved lovers. The feelings they felt towards their strongest rival and the feelings they felt towards their most beloved lover. Whichever irreplaceable passion it was, they’re filling it into the same person. It was–
“For knights like us, there’s nothing better….”
“Well, that’s obvious from their expressions.”
Saikyo said so while pointing her folding fan at where Ikki and Stella were showing smiles as if bearing fangs.
There was no telling how many times their blades had crossed. How many times the steels had crash into each other. How many times they struck each other with all their might. But still the enemy before them would not go down. The blade of their souls struck each other back faster and harder without a step back. To defeat such an opponent would require becoming even faster, even stronger – endlessly improving each other. They are going to the top. It’s likely that if they had not met this person, it would have taken years, decades for it to reach this level – their own potential. In this moment they both definitely felt it.
That’s why they should go. Together. To the pinnacle of knighthood.
It was the promise they made that day being carried out here. …But, no matter how wonderful the time was, the end was coming. And when everything ended, only one person would be left as victor. The one at the top would only be one person. Both who were living in the world of battle knew that. Therefore, they accelerate much more, racing for the top.
The crowd shivered with excitement as the huge sound of the weapons echoed. It was as if the passion of the two was spreading, stimulating the crowd’s mind, with passion in their eyes. In this vessel filled with enthusiasm – there was just one person, as if bearing pain, a woman staring at the ring with sorrowful expression. It was ‘Twin-Wings’ Edelweiss.
(So it ended up like this after all.)
She looked down at their battle sadly. It was certainly a beautiful battle. They were forcing each other to improve, driving each other to greater heights. It was… truly a spectacular sight. It was the ultimate battle, just what they had each wanted. But Edelweiss knew. Once they had reached this point, there was only one outcome. And that outcome would be cruel beyond belief. The result would soon appear to be obvious to everyone watching. The struggle for supremacy ended as the ‘Crownless Sword King’ retreated far behind.
“They’ve finally separated! Kurogane has staggered back from the fight!”
It was a battle where even one step back meant losing. That condition had just become clear. Having been pushed back, Ikki’s eyes were shaken with shock. Being forced back in this battle with spirits – was not the cause of his surprise.
Ikki could see it. For just a moment it had suddenly appeared, black iron rings – steel chains wrapped around his limbs like snakes, binding his movements. Stella charged at the retreated Ikki, clearly aiming for the win. Her blade sliced through the air towards him. Ikki needed to use back Madoka to counter it, but….
The chains around his body were tight, the weight desperately preventing his movements as if being connected to a mountain.
“K-Kurogane can’t attack back! Can’t reach back! He’s entirely on the defensive!”
“O-Onii-sama?!” Shizuku screamed at the sight of her brother being suddenly forced back. Next to her, Arisuin was similarly perplexed.
“Why?! It looks like Ikki’s movements suddenly became dull….”
“Could it be, ‘Ittou Shura’s’ limit–”
“That’s not it.” Moroboshi refuted their thoughts. Being one of the strongest people in the country, he could see far more than the other two. “Ittou Shura is still active. His movements hadn’t dulled. It just relatively looked that way.”
“Relatively, you mean..”
“Kurogane suddenly can’t keep up with the Princess’s movements any more…!”
And at this development, “Finally, it came,” Edelweiss let out her voice as if sighing. That’s right, this was definitely the result that she had foreseen. “Do you know, the reason the rivalry stopped?” As Sara’s hand stopped sketching those two fighting, Edelweiss replied. “You could call it fate.”
“The magical power that a Blazer possesses is decided upon birth. For those carrying great destinies in this world, that power is big. After all, magical power grants the ability to change the world by defying reasons. But that also means that upon birth what you are capable of doing in this world is already decided. Just now the two of them have been improving themselves at a rapid pace. The journey that would have taken decades to reach from now, they had gone through it in an instant. And then, as a result the ‘Crownless Sword King’ has just reached it. The furthest he himself could possible go.”
That’s right. That was definitely the reason the rivalry stopped. In this one minute, Kurogane Ikki had completely exhausted all the possibilities that he was allowed to have in this world. There was nowhere left for Kurogane Ikki to go. The fate that decided his life in this world would not allow him to progress any further. But it’s different for Stella Vermillion. Since birth she was an existence that was allowed to greater heights than any other. Therefore, she had further yet to go. She was still growing. She was different from Ikki who was chained to the bottom of the earth. Stella had been born with wings that would carry her as high as the heavens. So it became clear which of the two was superior.
“It’s a pity, but… he can’t keep up with the ‘Crimson Princess’ anymore.”
It was no longer a matter of skill or effort, but a despairing limit to their existence. Just as Edelweiss said, this limit parameter decided their match. As Stella continued to grow at a rapid pace, Ikki could no longer follow. He was extremely already at the pinnacle of his possibilities. Thus he couldn’t do anything against Stella’s continued attack.
Her blade struck ‘Intetsu’, which shuddered from the blow. His posture crumbled. Stella stepped into the gap and launched an upper body blow. It was the same sword and fist combination as before. But this time it was not a direct attack. Ikki had managed to move ‘Intetsu’ back to block her fist. Since the blade wouldn’t make it in time, he blocked with the hilt. Even if he was clearly fated to be outmatched, he wouldn’t allow good blows to reach him. His high clever defense spoke volumes about his skill. But it was useless. The moment he received her fist, Ikki’s feet left the ground. Before the power of a dragon, Ikki’s body was in the air like a scrap of paper. In that instant –
“Pierce through the heavens, flames of purgatory.”
The ‘Crimson Princess’ would decide the match with her finishing blow. Burning flame gushed from Laevateinn as she swung it up. The rampaging flame in an instant caused the temperature and light intensity to go up. Her sword was soon wreathed not in flame, but in light that burned shadows into oblivion. It shaped itself into a sword of light and heat large enough to strike the heavens. Stella took that blade and….
“Burn to ash! ‘Katharterio Salamandra’!!!!”
Ikki looked down from his position in midair. Ikki couldn’t dodge. He couldn’t. It was obvious because his legs were nowhere near anything to push off from. The only thing he could do was place his device in front of his body to block the sword was coming towards him while splitting the heavens in two and. But, obviously he couldn’t even do that. His ability to think had been swallowed by the sword of light that burned everything. A moment later his world turned from pure white to pitch black.
“Stella’s greatest move ‘Katharterio Salamandra’ hit directly! Her blade has sliced through Kurogane who couldn’t move in the air and the giant LCD monitor as well! Beyond the sea of magma, the batter’s eye seats are left in black rubble! I can’t see Kurogane anywhere in that rubble! I think he’s likely buried underneath it!”
“Th-This is bad… Kurogane has been hit with the worst possible ability.”
“Anyone would expect this to be the end…”
The crowd stirred as they looked at the caved in section of seats. It had clearly been a fatal blow to anyone watching. Among the commotion, the referee’s out-of-bounds countdown began.
“The referee’s out-of-bounds countdown has begun! Stella will be named the winner if Kurogane is unable to get back into the ring within the count of ten! But I’m not sure. It seems to me that they should be rushing into rescue him instead of doing a countdown. After all, he just got hit with the ‘Crimson Princess’’ finishing move….” But Kaieda did not agree with Iida’s comment.
“….No, he wasn’t hit directly.”
“Is that so?!”
“Well, he wasn’t fully hit directly, is what I mean. ….Stella used a fairly quick motion this time so that she could hit him in midair with ‘Katharterio Salamandra’. That attack works by focusing the power of flame into one place, which means that it requires a build-up period. However, the build-up period this time was unusually short. That’s why it didn’t have the same power that we saw in her fight with the ‘Sword Emperor of Wind’. With ‘Ittou Shura’s’ magic increasing his defense against magic attack, I wouldn’t say he won’t regain consciousness within the ten second count.”
“So he still has a chance?”
But toward the question, Kaieda shook his head . “…No. Unfortunately, even if he regains consciousness, a minute has passed since he activated ‘Ittou Shura’. He’s already used up everything. …I can’t think of anything he could do if he did wake up.” Thus, Kaieda thought so. That this countdown was the referee’s way of showing sincerity to the two fighters.
“O-Ohhh!! Stella has just turned her gaze away from the rubble where Kurogane is buried! She’s certain of it! Her victory! That the ‘Crownless Sword King’ won’t get up!”
Stella was sure from the condition. There was nothing more to this fight. What’s left was just the countdown completing. Once the referee counted to ten, she would finally have overcome Ikki. –When that happened, she’d raise her blade to the heavens. She’d show them all that she was at the top.
“Three! Four! Five!”
And, Stella wasn’t the only one certain of the outcome of this fight.
(….It’s fine already, Onii-sama….)
Even Shizuku, a relative of Ikki, understood that there was nothing more to this fight. Ikki had lost to Stella. It was an unshakable truth. But it wasn’t sad, she thought. She didn’t think it was frustrating either. –In fact, she was proud. Of course. Her brother that she was proud of had fought bravely until the end. Normally, it would have likely taken him decades to become this skilled. By watching this fight, nobody would think that her brother was weak.
(Onii-sama, you’re already a fine hero….)
Nobody would be ashamed to give him the title of Great Hero that had belonged to Kurogane Ryouma. The rest of the crowd shared Shizuku’s emotions as they looked at the pile of rubble. Their gaze was not pitying, but admiring. The spectators, friends, teachers, fellow Seven Stars rivals, all of them. Not one of them could say, “Don’t give up,” or “Keep trying.” Having seen the fight first-hand, they all knew – Ikki had given the fight everything he had. That’s why they could not speak.
The sound of metal on metal could be heard in everyone’s ears.
When Ikki came too he was surrounded by darkness. He was laying on his stomach above what felt like wet cold rocks in a limestone cavern. His limbs were bound by black chains that extended into the darkness around him as expected. –From that time. The black chains that had suddenly appeared during his fight against Stella. Ikki understood what they were.
These chains were his fate.
It was obvious, since it was about none other than him. He knew all too well. This was as far as he could go in this cave-like place where light could not reach. It was the bottom of the earth which was certainly a fitting place for an F-rank like himself. He had no right to go beyond this point. The chains of fate would not allow it. Well it didn’t matter, he had no strength left in his body to even take a step. He was well and truly used up. His emotional, physical and magical energy – every last one of it. They had all been thrown into that one minute gamble. And so he was empty. So empty that a breeze could carry him away. But that was okay. It was already enough. He’d truly given his very best. He’d put his life into it, exploited all of his potential – even so he couldn’t win.
So there was no helping it now. He’d probably gone too far already. After all, he had fought the ‘Crimson Princess’ head-on even if it was a minute. The memory would remain in the hearts of many people. It would be written in history. Sure, he hadn’t managed to win, but nobody could fault him for that. Who would blame him if he couldn’t obtain victory? It was a loss no need to be ashamed to show anyone and had satisfactory end. It was a satisfactory loss.
That satisfaction…., that cheap satisfaction was nowhere to be found in Ikki’s heart even a little.
In the darkness, the chains ground against each other, making clanking sounds. Ikki who was lying on his stomach, the man without the strength to take even a single step, reached out with his right hand. Then, his nails were clawing the damp stone.
He strongly put strength into his fingers and tried to crawl himself forward. But obviously he could not move forward. His body was bound by the chains of fate. Those clinking chains bound his body that was like dragging mountain. His hand slipped. His fingernails ripped off. Pain. Blood. He was only hurting himself, which was futile. But….
Ikki continued to claw at the stone, even without fingernails to grip with. Using more strength than before, he gripped and pulled, dragging his empty, weak body slightly forward.
Why? Why would he do this?
Why? Why could he do this?
Why would he still drive his battered and used up body forward?
Was it his pride as a knight? No. That had long turned to ash.
Was it admiration for Kurogane Ryouma? No. That had been burned away.
There was only one reason for Ikki to keep going. The feeling that would not be exhausted even when kept burning. The one that could not be used up in about one minute.
The limitless passion that he felt towards just one girl.
Ikki thought so. Had he not met Stella, had she just been a stranger to him, he would have been satisfied to be where he was. He would have been satisfied to reach the end of his ability. But they had met.
They had met, experienced each other – fell in love.
The time they had spent together, slowly growing closer, even fighting sometimes, their feelings deepened every time of it. Every minute – every second – spent with her was more precious than any jewel to Ikki.
I love Stella. I love her more than anything or anyone else in the world. Which is why… I can’t stay here!
He rose to his knees, raising his upper body, dragging the chains with him. The chains were tight against him, squeezing his entire body. Splitting his skin, bursting his muscles, cracking his bones. The pain and the weight like dragging a mountain behind him – seemed to speak to him.
Stop doing the impossible. There is nothing left ahead for a man like you. This is the end of the road for you.
In reply to all of this Ikki gave a ‘so what’.
Fate would not allow him to go any further. Who cared about that? It was not his concern. Something like that was no reason for him to stop. It was obvious, since Stella was getting further ahead of him while he remained like that. She was using the wings she had been born with to fly anywhere ahead and above. And someday, she would come across them. Someone with the same wings, her new rival.
That… he didn’t want that.
He wouldn’t allow that. Stella’s heart, body, greatest love – her strongest, everything that she had…
I will not let anyone else have them, not even one!!
So let it burn! The one burning was the limitless feeling in his chest. With the power of that feeling, he took one more step forward.
It shouldn’t be impossible. Ikki, who had been fighting against fate his more than anyone, understood. It’s true that fate is probably defined by talent, but he wouldn’t be able move forward without his feelings.
–His feelings that wouldn’t be crushed even if his body is burned and charred.
–His feelings that wouldn’t give up even if he’s beyond recovery.
–His feelings that would not falter even if the bitterness of defeat made his entire body shake.
These feelings are what made people move forward. These feelings are what made them stronger than they were before. In that case, those should be the power could cut through fate!
Take hold of the power that endlessly fills your heart. Even if this is the bottom of the earth, cut free of the chains and go forward. Even if this body has no wings, go up to the sky, to the one beside you. For always and forever, before the one you love most in this world,
“You better always be your coolest self for me, YOU DUMMYYYY!!”
It’s because you want to be the coolest you could be..!
In an instant, as his right leg made one step forward, the chains snapped apart, –Light filled the world of darkness.
It happened when the countdown had reached nine. Every spectator in the dome had their sight fixed on the pile of rubble at the batter’s eye seats. A sharp blade seemed to slice the rubble into pieces as it exploded upward.
Then, a flash of light from among the charred black rubble shot towards the large island where Stella stood and stabbed into the surface. But of course it wasn’t an arrow. The one bathed in blue light that looked like flame was none other than the Worst One, Kurogane Ikki.
The match that everyone thought was decided, had been overturned. At this situation, the dome was filled with surprise and shock.
“WHAT IS THIS?!? I… I can’t believe it! From that state, at the count of nine Kurogane came back into the ring! A-And this is…! Magic is overflowing from his whole body! Magic that is clearly more powerful than before! He should have used up all of his magic from using ‘Ittou Shura’! Just what could this possibly mean?!”
Here is the second part of this translation, the third part was started a few days ago so it should be up in a week or so…
So here we go, enjoy.
Also this was Edited and refined by AP24 on animesuki big thanks to him for the help
Surely the first time she did it, in the fight against the ‘Yaksha Princess’, she had used her blade thrust to force the temperature of her blood up, allowing her to draw out the power of the dragon. But once she knew what was required, she had control of her body and her power. She didn’t need to stab her blade into her chest, just raise her blood temperature and activate it. Stabbing herself during the fight with Ouma was purely for show. Since that point in the semifinal Stella had been preparing this trap for Ikki.
It was just as Jougasaki had said, she made it appear that the stabbing motion was required to activate ‘Dragon Spirit’ so that the moment he tried to use ‘Ittou Rasetsu’ she would be able to counter with an attack that not even he could predict. But… Ikki’s intuition had seen through it.
“…I thought it was just a bit too easy.”
“So it wasn’t just luck that got you this far. I should have expected it.”
He couldn’t help but admire Stella, even though her plan had been to deliver a ‘Dragon Spirit’ powered blow with the utmost precision and likely with lethal timing. But having seen through her plan while on the brink of falling into it, it was clear that her plan would not be her path to victory.
“Thinking about it now, waiting for you to make a mistake was probably not the best idea.”
There were no more plans. In fighting a knight of Ikki’s level it was clear that quality trumped quantity. That was why she had put all of her effort into this one strategy. But now her plan had come to nothing. Then what to do? The only path remaining was lined with thorns – it would have to be a direct assault. It was against a man so skilled with the sword that he was called the ‘Crownless Sword King’.
Even with ‘Dragon Spirit’ this would be a risky fight. Ikki’s fighting experience has exceeded her own knowledge and thinking. She couldn’t even imagine all of the ways in which he might counter her attacks. It was dangerous. It became a very dangerous fight. That’s why if it was possible, she wanted to decide victory using the trap just now, but now that it had come to this there was no other option.
Stella swiped ‘Laevateinn’ through the empty air. The power behind her blade was so great the air itself was blasted towards Ikki, forcing him several meters away. A lazy slash of her blade had caused an explosive blast of air to strike him. Despite having her plan to victory ruined, Stella spoke with joy showing in her expression.
“I won’t be waiting for you to slip up any longer. It doesn’t matter how well you know me. I’m going to beat you into submission until I’ve won the Seven Stars!”
“This time it’s Stella that is closing the gap with the ‘Crownless Sword King’!”
Her own skill. Her own power. She was trusting in herself as she rushed towards Ikki. Meanwhile, Ikki….
(Calm down. Her using ‘Dragon Spirit’ without the motion was unexpected, but I had anticipated of it being used.)
That’s right, Ikki is a veteran that had gone through an amount of unfavorable battles. He didn’t stand on the ring with the assumption that ‘Dragon Spirit’ would be suppressed. Of course, he had already worked through simulations of it being used. The current situation was within his expectations. Therefore his mind and body immediately adapted to the sudden change of the situation. He had seen ‘Dragon Spirit’ used in the fight against Ouma. He had guessed the approximate amount of her body’s strength increasing. And while she may be more powerful because of her ‘Dragon Spirit’, Stella’s identity had not changed. Which means her actions would not change.
(Her first attack will be a thrust straight for my head, just like before!)
But in the moment that he set himself to accept her thrust into his ‘Madoka’ counter, a vision of him losing his head flashed through his mind.
Trusting in his intuition, Ikki shifted his neck to the right. In a moment, the wind pressure that was like a bullet passing through struck his eardrum.
(She created a vacuum next to my head with her sword..! What a thrust..!!)
She was faster and more powerful than he had expected. The air itself fled before her blade. The degree to which ‘Dragon Spirit’ increased her capabilities far exceeded Ikki’s expectations. If he had received it with ‘Madoka’, his head would have been blown off if the timing didn’t match. The possibility was insane.
(But I expected that to happen..!)
After all it was information acquired during Ouma’s fight by viewing from a distant spectator seat. From the beginning it was not that reliable. That’s why Ikki was able to escape by avoiding it in a moment. Then he immediately bowed his body, avoiding thrust coming at him and took a backstep to retreat to a distance. Over there Ikki took a stance with his sword. What was needed now was information, so he decided to stop rushing to victory, protecting himself without being fixated on ‘Madoka’ while gathering data on Stella.
“Kurogane has stopped! But Stella isn’t letting him go! She’s dancing and leaping after him with her blade! Sparks are literally flying from her as she strikes! The ground beneath them is cracking from the pressure! But her opponent is the ‘Crownless Sword King’! He can endure even this! He’s holding on!”
Ikki accepted the mighty swings of her blade with his own thin sword. He channeled the force of her blows through his body and into the ground. He wasn’t making even a single offensive move. His defense was canceling out Stella’s attack. He couldn’t allow even the slightest gap in his defenses. After a while of this, he finally had a grasp on her power.
(I’ll have to pretend to mess up!)
He waited for Stella to slash at him, then feigned a stumble as he caught the blow with his blade. He had to draw out a full-power swing. Of course, Stella would see through his act, and she would likely realize that he was trying to make her attack him with her full force, but….
(Knowing her, she’ll do it anyways!)
And just as Ikki expected, she swung at him with the weight of her entire body behind her sword.
(I can counter this…!)
He had already determined what she was capable of and she was attacking just as he had predicted. The speed and angle were perfect. He can turn her own blade against her. And with this much power behind her swing, it would surely be enough to create an opening – which he’d use for ‘Ittou Rasetsu’. Match over.
He tossed aside his plans as he flung himself out of the path of her blade. ‘Laevateinn’ slashed through empty air and struck the ground of the ring.
The ground split.
“H, how extreme!!! The moment Stella’s large sword hit the ring it opened a crack in the ground all the way up into the seats!! What a power it was!”
The entire crowd was staring at the crevasse that had opened in the dome. Ikki too was staring, shocked horror plain on his face as he gulped a breath. He calculated the force she must have used to cause such damage and it far exceeded what he’d anticipated. Just like the first time.
But something was different this time. This time he had observed Stella and knew the power of her swing, but the moment he moved to use Madoka against her she had increased that force further to overpower him. She was adapting. Even as they fought.
(Just as predicted..?)
Don’t lie, Kurogane Ikki. You didn’t expect this. Well, the sheer offensive power was predictable, but…
(Stella’s, those eyes….)
Her crimson gaze was fixed on him. The flames of her fighting spirit lit them from within. And inside burned… respect. He had not anticipated that. It caught him completely off guard. Stella to this extent made the knight Kurogane Ikki afraid.
He was certain he could handle any attack, no matter how strong. And if she was just tossing her power around he would be able to handle it. The arrogance that comes with being the strongest was Ikki’s path to victory. But Stella was different. Her training with Saikyo Nene had certainly awakened her to the extent of her own power. In that awakening she had certainly come to realize that she had a right to be arrogant.
Yet even then, she had not looked at Kurogane Ikki as if he were below her. It was because of this that she had gone so far as to set up a trap for their match and would stop at nothing to win. A girl with her level of skill and power, not showing even a moment of carelessness against a mere F-Rank, fought to win like her life depended on it. Even now, she was adapting and growing to overcome him.
-What could be more terrifying than that.
Within Stella right now was the knowledge that she was truly powerful, along with the understanding that the man she was fighting was just as capable as she. She believed in the two facts that should conflict, but instead created a harmony within her. She was utterly confident in her own ability, but wouldn’t let her guard down for even a moment.
For a knight, it was a completely flawless mentality that can be said ideal to fighters. Ikki had never fought against anyone like this before. Which is why he didn’t know what to do. Why there were no openings. He couldn’t think of anything. He had no tactic to counter the respect that filled her eyes.
(How am I supposed to fight someone like this…?!)
“Whoops, Kurogane has taken a huge backstep! He’s retreating from close range! Is he feeling the pressure from that last attack!”
“Onii-sama backed off?!”
“He would have to after seeing that much power.”
“………….That’s not it.” Moroboshi said, his voice heavy.
“That’s not why he backed off. It’s worse than that.”
Backing off from Stella’s power would be one thing. Of course Ikki would be overpowered by Stella. This was different. It wasn’t as simple as that. Moroboshi grit his teeth in anger as he glared down at Ikki’s retreating figure.
(That idiot..! He’s lost to his emotions!)
Moroboshi was not the only one to notice that Ikki had lost to the emotional pressure.
“I can’t believe it.” Up in the spectator seats, Tohka confirmed her suspicions by studying the flow of energy through his body and spoke aloud in surprise. “Kurogane-kun is… scared….”
Tohka was well aware of how much courage he had, which made it all the more difficult to believe what she was seeing. After he had fought her in a far direr situation and shown no fear, such weakness was flowing through the body of the ‘Crownless Sword King’. He’d fallen prey to the unbelievable aura of skill that Stella exuded.
(But…) His decision was wrong. Retreating here was regretfully a bad move that Ikki showed. Because… (Stella-san is used to chasing after her opponents…! That development is Stella-san’s specialty..!)
Tohka’s fears were then soon confirmed. Ikki who could only fight at close range backed off. Even though he couldn’t gain anything from it. Stella knew that reaction well from her time in the Vermillion Kingdom. Most of the knights she faced had done the same. The fearful reaction of a loser.
(I don’t know what’s gotten into him, but he’s looking pathetic.) She thought as she looked at Ikki breathing raggedly. He looked like he’d fall if she just kept looking at him. Something was wrong, that much was obvious. In which case… this was her chance. (I won’t give him time to recover..!) Stella swung ‘Laevateinn’ in her hands so that the tip pointed to the ground.
She plunged the blade into the ring. Light so bright that it could hardly be seen poured from the cracks of the ring followed by a flood of bloody crimson that split the ground.
“It… It’s hot..!!”
“No, no way, this is…?!”
The spectators’ screams filled the air. But they weren’t alone.
“Hey, hey….This is going too far….”
“…I didn’t expect this.”
Even mage-knights like Kurono and Saikyo were dumbfounded by Stella’s display of power. How could they not be.
“I… I can’t believe it! Stella has melted the ring and the ground beneath it!” It was just as they said. The ring and all of the earth around it had been blasted with her ‘Dragon Breath’, melting it into a sea of magma.
The only place left to stand were the bits of stone that remained floating throughout the sea of magma. But even those were slowly melting away and sinking into the molten depths. Within ten minutes they would all be gone. When that happens there wouldn’t be any foothold, and Ikki who had no resistance to the flame would automatically lose. Stella had effectively placed a time limit on their match with her ‘Dragon’s Nest’. This way Ikki could no longer run all over the place. But adding to the fact was this hellish scene that stood out most in Ikki’s mind.
He could train for hundreds – no, thousands of years, but he would never be capable of that kind of power. They were too different in what they had. In what they had been given.
(Did I really think that I could defeat a monster like this…?)
He looked at Stella, his gaze quivering with fear. What he saw was no longer a girl, but a dragon. A massive flame dragon that stood as tall as the heavens. It was not his first time seeing such a vision. But now, facing her head-on with his life on the line, he understood for the first time.
Compared to this dragon, his existence was very small.
And most terrifying of all, this massive flame dragon that stood as tall as the heavens was seriously facing the very small human called Kurogane Ikki. It wanted to win. It didn’t let its guard down for even a second. It came into the ring prepared for every situation, baring its fangs and ready to fight to the death. This thing…-would kill him.
Sure, he had experienced fear when facing Amane’s power, and his fight with Edelweiss had been dire, but he’d never been so certain of his own death before.
Terror. It was the only thing in his mind now. He was shaken to the depths of his marrow. Stella didn’t miss the terror as it filled him. Stella’s long leg struck one of the floating islands in the magma.
The stone crumbled away sending a wave that made Ikki’s footing even more precarious. He was so unsteady that he lost his balance. The best he could manage was to take a knee to stop from falling.
He gave Stella an opening to approach. As she charged across the magma as if it were solid ground heading straight for Ikki, ‘Laevateinn’ aimed straight for his throat.
Facing this, Ikki had little choice in the action he took during that moment. With his center of gravity already low, he propelled himself forward into a roll on his narrow island. His roll took him under Stella’s blade and behind her. He was back on his feet in an instant and slashing at Stella’s unprotected back. Response… was none.
As his blade pierced her back, Stella burst into a cloud of sparks. At the same time, the real Stella swung ‘Laevateinn’ down towards Ikki’s head. She had known that he would be able to dodge easily after taking a knee. She had known from the start that attacking him there had no chance of success. Which is why after ‘Dragon Stomp’ she had used ‘Flame Veil’ to draw out his dodge, and once he had wasted more time and energy on an empty attack he wouldn’t be able to dodge again.
She had read him completely. She still had not let her guard down. And now she finally had chased Ikki into a corner from which he could not escape. Her sword would crack his skull this time.
(Calm down! I can use this attack to make some distance..!)
“ONII-SAMAAAAAAAAA!! DON’T DO IIITTT!!!!” By the time Shizuku had screamed it was too late.
‘Laevateinn’ descended towards him. Even though Ikki caught it with ‘Intetsu’ with the intention of fleeing behind, there was not even a slight power put behind it.
When he finally understood…
His gut had already been pierced.
It was Stella’s molten iron left fist that had punctured his abdomen. The downward attack with her right hand just now had was a decoy. The real one was a blow to his body with her fist. It was the combination she had used in the first fight against ‘The Unturning’ Tatara Yui. Her molten fist had punched into his gut at such high speed that it ripped through his muscles and shattered his ribs into dust. On top of that the heat burned and charred his intestines. Her power far exceeded that of any normal human and the damage she caused with that one blow was evidence of that fact.
With one punch – “Geh…. ah……” – she took Kurogane Ikki’s consciousness. Vomiting up boiled blood, Ikki’s body hung limp. He didn’t fall, but the light was gone from his eyes. His awareness was gone. It was a completely hopeless situation.
Stella moved to deliver finishing blow. In order to bring her victory in the Seven Stars, in order to for her to surpass the one she had chased for so long, this attack with her entire body would…!!!!
The blade slipped through muscle and bone with ease. The fresh blood that spurted into the air and splattered onto the white stone was a deeper crimson than the magma. The blood boiled as though it was on the verge of igniting.
It couldn’t have been anyone else. It was the ‘Crimson Princess’ Stella Vermillion’s, dragon blood.
“H-He’s countered! Just when you thought the match was over! Kurogane Ikki, who looked to be down for the count, has just counter-attacked!! He’s sliced across Stella from bottom to top! What a reversal!!”
“It- It was ‘Madoka’! He took the force of her attack and turned it back on her! I… I can’t believe it! How could he manage it!”
“Stella has knelt on the ground! Her boiling blood is flowing on the white ring arena! The amount of bleeding is not ordinary!!”
(This damage is… bad….!)
Stella groaned as she pressed her abdomen like holding her entrails from falling out. This was not a fatal wound to Stella who has the power of the dragon inside of her. But it would take time to recover from her injury even when having a dragon’s vitality. She wouldn’t be able to move for at least tens of seconds. If he attacked her now, she’d be utterly defenseless. Realizing this, Stella had no choice but to gather her strength and try to escape.
“Stella is retreating while staggering! She’s putting some distance!”
But one island away Stella collapsed again. Her vision faded. She couldn’t move her limbs. Her blood loss was severe. Her regenerative abilities couldn’t keep up with the amount of blood flowing out. But rather than the damage to her body, the unrest in her mind was more serious. What’s filling her head was a question.
She was certain that he had lost consciousness. No, not in the past. In fact, even now Ikki didn’t regain consciousness. And yet… he could he use ‘Madoka’ to counter her. It made no sense. In front of Stella who was in an inexplicable confusion, Ikki finally regained consciousness.
“………………………………………….” His first thought upon waking was surprise to see that Stella was down and injured. (…Did I… do that…?) Even though he had been unconscious, he could still feel the sensation of his blade cutting through Stella. She had swung at him with more power than ever before. He knew purely from feeling that he had used ‘Madoka’ against her. He knew how he had moved. He understood it all. And that’s why he knew….
The movement was nothing special at all.
It wasn’t a spectacularly well executed counter, nor was it a spectacularly bad counter. It was absolutely normal. It was the routine ‘Madoka’ that he had performed thousands of times in simulations.
He had engraved those motions into his body repeatedly. It came out while he was unconscious.
-I don’t want to lose.
His body, his flesh, casted away the fear in his mind.
-I believe it.
Even now strong heartbeat reached his earlobes.
While his body is screaming, Ikki slightly apologized. I’m sorry. He’d set out as an F-rank with only the barest excuse of power. With that power he had set off after the ‘Great Hero’ Kurogane Ryouma on the path to knighthood. He’d pushed his body harshly and recklessly. In so doing he had overwhelmed his body until it accepted his desires. He shouldn’t lose easily. No, ‘he won’t lose easily’.
He had not been soft in his training. It was only his emotions that had feared Stella’s overwhelming talent. Even though failing to believe in himself was the easiest way to guarantee a loss. What a fool.
(I should have known this already.)
That he was inferior compared to anyone. While aware of it, he had set out on this path. He had always believed that if he mustered everything he’s got, he could defeat even the strongest. There was no basis of it from the beginning. Even so, with just that one belief he had come all this way to fight. Despite being warped journey, he made through it. Yet now, now of all times, why wouldn’t he believe it?! His small self wouldn’t believe that he could win against this colossal dragon that stood as tall as the heavens?! After all the pain and suffering, despite all the people that had helped him, and all the people whose dreams of winning he’d stepped on to make it here, isn’t it now…?!
(It is now more than ever, you big idiot!!!)
With a powerful kick, Ikki instantly leapt from the island. The place he aimed was not the stone island where Stella knelt wounded, but the largest remaining ring fragment in the center of the sea of magma. There he stopped, took a deep breath, and….
“Th-This is…! This light!”
“H-hey, it can’t be!”
The ‘Crownless Sword King’ was slowly emitting blue light from his body. The crowd stirred. It’s obvious. They shouldn’t have mistaken it. His rising magic power, the flashing light, it was the once-a-day trump card of the ‘Crownless Sword King’.
If Ikki was using this ability, it meant that he was ending the match. But Ikki’s action made a lot people wondering. Why now? The time that it took for him to regain his senses had allowed Stella’s wounds to begin to recover. Even if there was any chance, there was only few seconds remaining for it. It was a very narrow time window for him to secure his win. But, without minding all of those things, Ikki has decided. If there was no opening he could use, then there was little timing. At this point there was only one thing for him to do. The only thing that he could do.
For an F-ranked idiot who had carried on all this way professing that he didn’t want to lose, right now in this moment the only thing for him to do was trust in the body that he had developed throughout all of his struggles!
-It’s time to muster up strength!
Mental, physical, magical – all of it. Every experience and brush with death-, as much as possible. This body, this mind, this moment, everything that makes up Kurogane Ikki. Those everything would be used as fuel for the next one minute. No need to think about what will happen after that. Losing and such can be thought about it after losing. Right now, only move forward. Until his strength was gone, forward. Win or loss-
Not even ash would remain at the end of this battle!!!!
As the blue light emitting around him, his roar filled the dome. The air shivered and the magma sea rippled. His voice was filled with fighting spirit. Ikki was calling her out. A face-to-face fight. Stella smiled looking amazed.
-Ah, that’s right. He was not the kind of man who would end this match in such a state. This was inevitable. So how should she respond? Run away during ‘Ittou Shura’s’ one minute time limit? – That would be the worst possible course of action. Stella was certain of it. A top-class knight like her knew. There was no room left in this fight for that kind of tactic. If she retreated, Ikki would be on her heels in an instant to tear her apart.
One step. That’s all it would take. Whoever took the first step back would lose. The next minute that would start from here was a battle with their souls.
-In that case, there was one response. No retreat! Force through at full strength! That’s no problem. It was what she wanted. That was her intention all along!
Immediately after, the two knights collided. The crowd gathered within the dome remembered it as they watched. It begun from now, -the one minute that was like a precious stone.
“Flashes of blue and crimson! This is nothing like the fight we’ve seen so far! They’re not looking for weakness now, it’s a non-stop whirlwind of blades! Neither one is backing off! They’re giving it their all in the middle of a sea of magma!”
“W, what huge noises!”
“My ears hurt..!”
“Beat him to a pulp while like that, princess!!”
“Don’t lose, Ikki-kun! You can win this–!!”
Ikki invoked his trump card ‘Ittou Shura’ to decide the match here. Stella from the opposite was meeting him head-on. While both contestants’ feelings were crashing into each other, cheers were sent to the ground like a rumble. But all of those didn’t reach their ears. Each of their attention was towards the enemy in front of them, and only the enemy’s appearance was reflected in their eyes
As promised here is the first part of the translation. As I said before I take no credit for translating I am just hosting it here.
One quick note, as we do not currently have his name for Edelweiss’ sword technique that he uses (possibly named in untranslated volumes) it will be referred to as “Twin Wings” when he uses it.
Without further Ado….
“LET’S GO AHEAD!!!”
As Iida yelled, the entire crowd gathered to watch over the fight cried out with him. And so it began. The final battle of the Seven Stars Sword Art Festival.
The moment that the match began, they all lost sight of Kurogane Ikki. Ikki’s Twin Wings ability had allowed him to accelerate instantaneously, moving too fast for anyone to track, as he headed straight for Stella.
“Oho!! Kurogane has taken off! He isn’t wasting any time! And he’s fast!!”
“He is a knight with limited range. He has to bring the fight into his domain if anything is to happen. This was the obvious choice to make, but…”Kaieda kept a close watch. This speed was not normal. Ikki’s rush this time was faster than anything they’d seen before.
But that was stating the obvious. Ikki’s warm-up had been grossly overdone, such that when he stepped into the ring he was already in top gear. (Feeling good!) His body was as light as a feather, but he hadn’t lost any of his strength. He was in top condition. Feeling how powerful his own body had become, Ikki felt gratitude to Moroboshi and the others. He wouldn’t waste what they had given him.
(I need to be the first to strike! I’ll take control of the match!)
Stella was not an opponent that could be defeated in one strike. This would be a long fight. Which was all the more reason to be the one leading and controlling the flow of the battle. If he could land the first blow and take control, he would surely be able to keep that lead!
As he stepped within reach of Laevateinn, Ikki began to shift to the left and right at a rapid pace. His rapid movements created illusions before Stella’s eyes, making it difficult to track him.
“This is Shinkirou…!!”
“Not only has he closed the distance, but now he is using his own speed to create illusions to conceal himself. The Princess is not even set in her stance yet! He’s surely taken the lead in this match..!”
Moroboshi, who was watching the match beside Shizuku, clenched his fist at the sight of Ikki’s perfectly executed rush. There was no doubt that he would be the one taking control of the match, for this was no normal rush attack.
He’d been tightening control of his own body all morning, making it such that he could move at top speed from the very first step and create illusions to counter even the slim chance of a return attack. He had been preparing for this attack long before the match began. It was his very best offense. There was not a single flaw in it. There could not be. It was the ultimate attack. But… Even the best attack could lose to enough sheer power!
Stella raised her long, beautiful leg into the air and drove her heel down into the ring. In that moment the ground pitched up with a blasting sound.
“Th-There’s no way..!!?” The crowd was screaming. Of course they were. Because…
“W-What is this?! The moment Stella stomped the floor of the ring, the entire arena broke into a spiderweb of cracks with her at the center!”
Not even the Panzer Grizzly’s stomp had this kind of destructive power. Who could possibly have expected such power to come from a beautiful girl’s slender legs? And of course her goal here had not been to destroy the ring. Her Dragon Stomp would stagger anyone, forcing them to stop moving for at least a moment. And a non-moving target can’t create illusions.
A flash. The Crimson Princess swung her sword, shining bright with its intense heat, at the real Ikki. Of course Ikki had a response. Before she had even begun her swing, he had read the course her blade would take. He met it with Intetsu. But he could not hold back the enormous power she was bringing against him.
When Laevateinn met Intetsu, the sheer power of her attack forced Ikki off the ground and sent him flying through the air like a rag doll.
Luckily he managed to remain inside of the ring, if only barely. Despite having read the course of her blade completely, he had been thrown 50 meters by her attack, a fact that had a cold sweat running down his face.
(I guess I really can’t take even a single hit from her.)
“You really worked hard for this, didn’t you Ikki.” Stella called to him as he recovered at the edge of the ring. “You tried to come at me right at the start of the match to catch me before I was really into it. Too bad for you that I’m always performing at my best. You missed your chance.”
Her voice was full of confidence. The Stella that Ikki knew had never had that. The knowledge that she was more powerful than anyone else. It wasn’t that she lacked self-confidence, and she always knew that she was strong, but despite that, she had always seemed to find herself lacking.
She should be more prideful. She should be more arrogant. Ikki had always felt that way. But if he had told Stella that, her serious nature would only have made her an even more harsh judge of herself. So he had never said it, but… it seemed Saikyo had managed to pull out that pride. And in facing and holding him off, she had enforced it. However….
“I missed my chance? Don’t be ridiculous.”
That’s right. Thinking he had failed was a huge mistake. As he popped his shoulder back into place he looked at Stella with joy clear on his face.
“It went just as I expected.”
She was the Crimson Princess Stella Vermilion, after all.
“Kurogane has managed to hold off a direct attack, but it blew him straight across the ring! What amazing power! Just what you’d expect of the Crimson Princess’s unparalleled blade! Stella has given us a fine show of what an A-rank knight is capable of with this one attack!”
That single crossing of blades had filled the crowd with energy. They cheered wildly for Stella. Among that crowd Misogi Utakata let out a small scream at the sight before his eyes.
“Uwaa, what amazing power. She didn’t just break the ring, she sent cracks all the way out into the spectator seats.”
Beside him, Tomaru Renren nodded in agreement. “Guess calling her the most powerful blade wasn’t just talk.”
“But Kurogane-kun is no disappointment himself.”
Hearing Totokubara Kanata’s words, Tohka simply nodded. Kanata and Tohka were the only two in the student council with enough skill of their own to have seen what it was that Ikki had done.
“At the moment of impact he purposefully dislocated his shoulder, which allowed most of the power in her attack to flow behind him. He was able to read that far ahead.”
“Ohh? He really did that?”
“Had he not, he would be buried in the stone of the wall right now I think.”
If the power invested into Stella’s attack made her a monster, then the ability that Ikki showed in deflecting that power made him a monster as well. Neither of them was lacking. At the least there was no sign of this battle going either way. —But Tohka narrowed her eyes as she watched.
(In that exchange you ended up giving Stella control of the center of the ring. Is that really okay, Kurogane-kun?) Just then, in the center of the ring, Tohka’s suspicions were confirmed.
“Fufu, I see. I’m glad that I lived up to your expectations.” As Stella laughed softly, the air around her began to change. Her fire blonde hair began to grow a phosphorescent crimson. “Now let’s see if you can live up to
He could feel the building heat even at the edge of the ring. His expression stiffened as he replied, “I’ve already decided. Against you I can’t be picky about how I win!” In the next instant Stella released such heat and killing intent that the light itself began to twist and warp.
(This pressure..! There’s no mistaking what’s coming!!)
In the same moment that Ikki understood what was coming, Stella released her greatest area flame attack. Light and heat flooded from Stella in all directions.
“Th-This is the Noble Art that we saw Stella use in the first round!!”
Upon seeing her activate the Noble Art, Kurono and the others tasked with protecting the crowd rushed to contain the flames. Of course they would. Stella’s Noble Art reached beyond the ring – beyond the crowd and even the entirety of the dome. And unlike the first round, Stella was no longer held back by her illusion form. If not for the magic knights containing the heat the crowd would have been flash ignited. And those magic knights had been chosen for this job specifically because of their skill. They were put in place so that skills like Stella’s Bahamut Howl could be used without fear of harming anyone else. The crowd was safe.
But in the ring there was nowhere to hide!
“Waves of heat are pouring out from Stella and roasting the entire ring! Kurogane has nowhere to run! Is his life in danger already!?”
“No, look!” Kaieda yelled from the commentator’s seat. He had seen.
Among the waves of blinding light stood Ikki. Not running, but holding his ground. His body was folding down towards the ground, and then….
Ikki kicked up and away from the ground, charging straight into the waves of heat.
“K-Kurogane is running straight into the center of Bahamut Howl! What is he thinking?!” The commentator was clearly at a loss.
“No, this is the right call.”
“If he runs into the flames at high speed he will reduce the amount of time that he is in contact with them. And look. The way that he is charging into the Bahamut Howl is like running a blade through the flame – he is reducing the amount of contact he has with the flame to the bare minimum. He can break through with no problems!”
He pierced through. He was through the flame in an instant. The only visible damage was a slight singe to his hair, but he did not stop. His body had become arrow aimed straight at Stella as Intetsu pierced through her chest!
Stella stood with the blade through her chest for a moment longer before she shimmered and disappeared like a mirage. She had been nothing more than a bending of light from the Noble Art Flame Veil. Even after unleashing such a massive skill like Bahamut Howl, Stella had not expected Ikki to fall. His charge had been expected. She used Bahamut Howl to obscure his vision for the second that she needed to use Flame Veil, and then when he charged in to attack her illusion….
“YOU’RE MINE!!” She was directly behind him, having concealed herself with Flame Veil as well. Now she could strike him, but..!
As she swung her blade down on Ikki, Stella felt a shiver of doubt run through her. As Ikki looked over his shoulder at her, his expression was calm like a pond without a single ripple.
There was little use doubting that. After all, this was the “Worst One .” In the past Stella would have hesitated, but now was different.
(Fine by me!)
Even if he anticipated this and made a plan, that’s fine. Stella did not falter and drove her blade down towards him! But…
“Third Secret Sword Art – MADOKA!”
The blow that struck Stella far exceeded anyone’s expectations.
The sound could only be described as an explosion as Stella was thrown across the ring. Despite planting both of her feet into the surface of the ring, her body continued to slide backwards until she finally stopped just before the edge.
“Would you look at this! It’s as if Kurogane wanted revenge for earlier! He’s sent her flying to the edge of the ring just as she did to him! He’s turned the fight around!”
The sudden reversal of positions and Ikki’s completely unexpected attack had the crowd heating up even more. Amid the noise of the crowd, Stella remained calm. Her hand clenched around the hilt of Laevateinn, feeling the lingering numbness in her hand.
(This feeling… his power… that isn’t Ikki’s.) Stella well knew Ikki’s ability. She knew that Ikki’s body could not produce this kind of attacking power. Not even Ouma could do that. The only person that could unleash an attack with this much power… would be herself. Which means…
“You stole my power, huh.” Her voice sounded somehow pleased, and in response Ikki smiled.
That’s right. The power that had sent Stella flying just now was her own. He had accepted and flowed her attack in a circle around him, sending her own power straight back at her with his counter.
“That’s the trick of my third secret sword art, Madoka.” It was one of the more difficult of Ikki’s sword techniques. All it took was a slight misreading of his opponent’s trajectory and timing and he would end up accepting their blow head on. He had to have perfect timing to land the counter. Even for someone with Ikki’s skill, it required absolute concentration to perform. Which is why it had been too difficult for him to use the ability well in his fight with Runner’s High.
“Thanks to copying Twin Wings’s sword I’ve become much better at accepting attacks and flowing with them. I could never have done this when I first came here, but now I can take an attack from your sword head on and return its power right back to you.”
Fighting Stella now without using Madoka would be impossible. Which is why for his warm up he had pushed himself so far and so hard, so that he would be able to perform at this level in his fight. He was in top form. Even as far separated as they were now, he could see every strand of Stella’s hair, and his ears hummed with the flow of his own blood through his body. He had a complete understanding of every single muscle within him. His skin was so sensitive that he could feel every speck of dust that landed on him. In this condition he had no concern of being hurt. In which case…
“I’m not afraid anymore!”
“Kurogane is charging at Stella once again! She’s at the edge of the ring! He’s fast! The Crownless Sword King is going beyond what we’ve seen before, he’s crossed the ring in an instant! He’s closing in on Stella!”
Stella’s brow furrowed as Ikki charged at her. “Devour him..! Satan Fang!!” A great dragon of flame erupted from Laevateinn.
“It seems Stella doesn’t want him to close the gap! She’s unleashed the long-range attack that we saw in the battle with the Sword Emperor of Wind!”
The flaming red dragon lit up the dim night-time arena as it lunged towards Ikki, determined to rip him apart with its molten fangs. Its seven heads opened their jaws wide. But even with such a nightmarish beast charging straight for him, Ikki did not slow in the least.
(That’s a pretty formidable attack, but it’s a bit too clumsy to stop me now!)
In fact, rather than slowing down, as the seven heads descended on him – he sped up. They struck down where he had been just a moment before as he slipped past them, leaving them behind. He had seen her use this attack against Ouma. He knew she would use it against him eventually, so he had saved a burst of speed just for this purpose. The seven heads would not be able to follow a target that suddenly speeds up, as evidenced by the seven jaws that snapped shut behind him as the dragon disappeared. He increased his speed again and charged at Stella.
“Kuh..! You…!!!!” Stella knew that she would have to fight Ikki at close range now that he had dodged her Satan Fang. “Empress Dress!” Her body was covered in a dress of flame as she stepped towards Ikki. The waves of heat coming from her body would no doubt prove helpful in the coming fight. But….
(If I can just use Twin Wings to move in and out of the fight constantly, her Empress Dress won’t be a problem at all. In fact, it’s helpful if it makes her come towards me!)
Having already read her intent, Ikki closed the gap without hesitation.
But no matter how fast Ikki may move, he could do nothing about the reach of his Device. Stella would have the first strike. And she chose to…
(Make the shortest possible movement, a thrust straight at his throat..!!)
For a moment Stella’s expression stiffened. Who could blame her. After all, her opponent had accepted the thrusting blade of her sword with his own blade. Ikki then used Intetsu to draw a circle around his entire body as he spun. As Intetsu carried the force of Stella’s blow around, the blade shifted under Laevateinn and redirected the movement upwards – leaving Stella temporarily defenseless. Ikki would not pass up this chance as he struck in an attack that was indistinguishable from Moroboshi’s Sanrensei.
“Th-The Uncrowned Sword King’s blade has struck the Crimson Princess!”
Her right shoulder, the left side of her chest, and her solar plexus were struck. Each blow was beautifully accurate. But the stabs which should have been fatal did no damage at all. The massive well of magic inside of the Crimson Princess did not allow Intetsu to pierce her. The best that his blade could do was to slice the topmost layer of skin. And if the blade could not harm her, there was no reason for her to hesitate.
(I’ll counter by powering up Empress Dress and attacking the entire area.)
“HAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!” Stella began her counterattack immediately. She pumped heat into her Empress Dress, aiming to burn Ikki away. However Ikki had already anticipated this and retreated from the close-range battle. He then accelerated into the flames, striking at her as he dashed through the heat. With the speeds he was moving at he could be in and out before the flames touched him. Three times he lunged through to strike at her. His focus was on speed, so each strike could hardly break the skin as it struck her.
(But Stella’s pride will be wounded by each hit.)
Stella was not known for her patience. She wasn’t one to stick to a single method for any length of time. And she would not simply stand by as he attacked her.
(If she thinks this is making no progress, she’ll change her attack. She’ll do it… now!)
As if she had been heard his thoughts, Stella released the Empress Dress. Why? There was only one reason. Because while this ability was good for area control, it did have a downside. As it burned everything around her, it also limited her range of vision. In a close-range battle that was a heavy handicap. Especially if her enemy was moving fast. The flames made it impossible to follow him. So she had deemed Empress Dress as not useful against Ikki and removed it. She refocused her power into Laevateinn. And that was when Ikki struck!
“Kurogane has leapt in as soon as Empress Dress went down! He’s struck hard! I can see blood spraying from Stella’s head!”
He had not dashed by this time. He stepped in and planted his body for a power attack. Thanks to his Twin Wings sword skill, his body strength when he struck with all of his might was such that Stella’s magic could not fully defend her, which allowed him to land the first real damage of the match.
Stella frantically struck back, but her blade only swept through empty air.
“Whoa whoa, are you serious??”
Holding the same distance, only Ikki’s blade made contact. The entire crowd was forced to accept the unbelievable reality that was unfolding before them. It was one-sided.
The F-rank “Worst One” was overwhelming the A-rank Crimson Princess.
“W-What is this! Both of them should be fighting at their optimal range! But only Kurogane is able to land a blow, Stella can only hit the air! She can’t do anything! This is completely one-sided! Kurogane is driving her back! I can’t believe what I am seeing! We knew that Kurogane was skilled at close-range combat, but to think the difference in their ability was this great!”
“I think she’s too close to Kurogane for her to fight like this. Kurogane’s ‘Perfect Vision’ is able to predict the actions of even an invisible opponent. And if he uses that ability against a lover, not just an opponent that he has only met at the start of the fight, then it will be even more powerful. The more time spent with the target of his Perfect Vision, the more it will see. Most likely Kurogane is able to read Stella’s next 100 moves in the blink of an eye.”
“Th-That far ahead?”
“If you look, Kurogane is already dodging before Stella even begins her swing. It’s fine to say that he is dodging her attacks, but he is doing so with such precision that moving even a single millimeter closer would mean being struck. But he isn’t being hit. He can’t be hit.” Kaieda explained. In terms of their ability to read each other, there was no competition.
“But Stella has the trump card that she used against the Sword Emperor of Wind, the Dragon’s Spirit.”
“Have you not noticed? Kurogane has been pressing her from the very moment the match started. Even when she had her Empress Dress active, he kept charging straight in to attack. He isn’t giving her the time to use Dragon’s Spirit, because she doesn’t even have the space to stab her blade into her own chest. He’s been fighting this entire time to prevent her doing that.”
“Even if she were to try and forcefully use Dragon’s Spirit here, Kurogane is already right on top of her waiting to use Ittou Rasetsu, which would be the strike to land first. And her foe is the Crownless Sword King, so even if each of these hits does little to no damage, eventually he will find a gap to use Ittou Rasetsu against her.”
Attack or defend, the result seemed to be the same. At this rate….
“At this rate, Stella really will be pushed back in a completely one-sided fight.”
Not even the veteran Kaieda could have predicted that Stella would be so overwhelmed in this match. His voice was strained. Meanwhile, the crowd was losing its mind over the course the match had taken. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Seeing Ikki do just that, the cheers for him increased.
“Th-This is amazing! He’s totally forcing her back!”
“He’s going to beat her!!”
And of course, among those cheers was Shizuku. “Onii-samaaaa!!! You can do it!!!” She was leaning over the edge of the fence and screaming at the top of her lungs.
“But that Stella really is something. Any other Blazer would have been overwhelmed by now, but she’s only taken a few scratches. No matter how long he keeps up like this, he can’t win the match.”
“But Onii-sama has a weapon to break through her defense!”
“Yes, you’re right, and he’s no doubt looking for the perfect moment to use it.”
And whenever he did use it, that would be the deciding moment of the match. Shizuku, Arisuin, and the rest of the crowd did not doubt that. However –
(Something is off here…) Moroboshi’s brow furrowed. Something about the exchange going on in the ring was unsettling. (The way he’s fighting, it’s like me in the first round….)
“Something seems odd.” Moroboshi was not the only one to sense it. Elsewhere, the Akatsuki chairman Tsukikage was thinking the same thing.
“Tsukikage-sama felt it too?” Rinna Kazamatsuri’s maid Charlotte asked, to which Tsukikage nodded in reply.
“It seems that Kurogane is attacking and holding her back at first glance, but it looks to me like the fight is getting out of his control.”
“I agree. From what I have been able to see, there were seven times at which he could have used Ittou Shura to have decided the match. Yet… he did not.”
“Of course he didn’t.” Crossing her legs in the seat behind the two, Edelweiss joined the conversation. “Right now, he is scared.”
Edelweiss nodded. “To be more precise, his instincts are shaken.” And in an awful turn for Ikki… “Those instincts of his are right to be scared.”
The discomfort Arisuin and the others had felt, the unease, had not escaped Ikki.
(What is this feeling….) His brow furrowed as he continued to attack. The match was clearly in his favor. Everything had gone just as planned from the very start. He’d kept up the attack on Stella to keep her from using Dragon’s Spirit just as he’d wanted. If she tried to force it out anyways, he could counter with Ittou Rasetsu and end the match. And if he just kept attacking like this, within twelve moves she would present an opening for Ittou Rasetsu anyways. If he used it, it would be the end. Yet…
(Yet how many times have I let that opening go already?)
He’d had multiple chances to use Ittou Rasetsu already. But he had not used it. He could see it. In the moment that he moved forward, inside of his mind he could see it –
The gaping mouth of a dragon waiting for its prey to leap in.
Ikki knew. This was a warning. Having scraped close to death so many times, how could he not know. He had a sixth sense that was smelling impending death. And that sixth sense… was right.
“Hehe.” Suddenly, amidst the constant rain of attacks from Ikki, Stella began to giggle. And then….
She stopped defending completely, instead spreading her arms wide before Ikki. Completely defenseless. It was as if she was saying, “Go on, stab me.” It was so unexpected that Ikki completely stopped. Seeing this, Stella began to laugh harder.
“What’s wrong, Ikki? Why won’t you attack me? Just look at how many openings I’ve given you.” Her smile was so bewitching that it seemed more suited to inviting him into her bedroom than inviting him to attack her. But he did not move.
“…Openings? I don’t know that I’d call them that….” Ever since she had stopped and spread her arms, he had seen it. If he took one more step forward, the jaws of the dragon would snap shut on him. Seeing his caution, Stella let out a regretful sigh.
“Too bad. This was my secret plan, but at the rate things are going you’ll never do what I was hoping for….. so I guess there’s nothing else I can do.” As soon as the words left her mouth, the world twisted.
Stella’s body was suddenly producing so much heat that sparks and embers flew from her hair. The heat warped the air around her. At the same time, the world thundered.
It was an unbelievable sound, a massive heartbeat that made the ground shiver. And in time with the beat, Stella began to flash with light from deep within as a brilliantly bright sword cut opened in her chest.
Her mouth was spread wide to reveal great fangs as she howled to the sky. Her voice was no longer that of a girl, but instead had become a mighty roar like the crash of the ocean. There was no doubting it now.
“Th-This is..!! This light!! That wound!! There can be no doubt!!! This is the Dragon’s Spirit that defeated the Sword Emperor of Wind!! Stella has brought out her trump card!!”
“How?! Stella-san didn’t do the thing she did against Onii-sama!?”
And yet, she had activated Dragon’s Spirit. The unbelievable truth of it had Shizuku at an utter loss. Behind her, Jougasaki Byakuya nodded his head as if finally understanding.
“It seems the Crimson Princess has exceeded all of our expectations in her preparation for this match.”
“Shiro. What do you mean?”
“From the start she didn’t have to stab her sword into her chest at all. The reason she did so in her match against the Sword Emperor of Wind was all in preparation for this match. That is a huge and obvious motion to perform in order to active Dragon’s Spirit, which means nobody would expect it to have been just for show. She made it up just to make sure that the Crownless Sword King would be forced to attack relentlessly to prevent her using it. Then all she had to do was wait for her moment to strike.”
Alright so my guy went even faster than I expected, so the first part of the translation will be up in about a day. Like I said in the about section, this translation will cover from the beginning of the final match between Stella and Ikki and be finished at the end of the novel.
So within the next 24-48 hours I should have the first part up for everyone. Though as I have next to no idea how to add the links to read on the blog I might just have to share a google drive or dropbox folder. Thanks for the patience.
I am currently commissioning someone to translate Volume 9 of this Light Novel, or at least a large chunk of it. This is one of my favorite novels and is currently being done by DisavateraMX on BakaTsuki. Unfortunately he is still working on volume 6 and I among many others wish to see many of the events in volume 9 ( yes i am looking at you “Ittou Shura of the night” ROFL) gotta love animesuki forums.
But anyways as I said we are a far cry from getting to that volume and while I am working on learning Japanese I am a long way from being able to read it on my own so I looked around for someone I could commission to do it. Unfortunately the first person I found had some RL issues that forced me to cancel and find a new one. Thankfully I was able to get a hold of someone else.
So I will be using this blog to host translations of this novel as BT frowns upon and removes paid TL’s. It will be roughly 20 pages of the novel done at a time with a total of about 70 pages overall. No real timetable for the release but I will put them up as soon as I get them.
P.S. one thing I forgot to mention. Each page of the Japanese Raws I am using is about a page and a half of the physical novel so it will be more like 110 pages overall.