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Prologue – Those Lined Up Before the Horizon

Oriotorai saw. She saw that a boy suddenly came flying out from behind Tenzou.

If he was behind Tenzou, then his silhouette should have been seen.

The reason that he had not been visible was…

…A ninja technique!?

Ninja techniques are a ninja’s special physical techniques. Skills like moving noiselessly and controlling visual information were specialized for use in stealth activities. Categorized within these techniques was the ability used in the protection of VIPs. Namely, the ability to sever any indication of a VIP’s presence.

That was what Tenzou had used. Oriotorai shouted the name of the spiky-haired boy in a loose-fitting uniform, who had leaped out from behind Tenzou.

“Noriki was the actual threat!?”

“You don’t have to say it out loud if you get it.”

The boy, Noriki, closed the distance in a heartbeat.

At the same time, my longsword’s sheathe hammered into Tenzou’s tantō.

The feeling which was sent into my hand was lukewarm, as if my sword had sunk into mud. This was because Tenzou had instantly sunk his body downwards to absorb the shock. Because of this, the sword did not bounce back and it did not immediately return to my hands.

My longsword is an important weapon. If I lose it, many troublesome things will happen before I reach Shinagawa.

In other words, my students.

I cannot let go.

However, precisely because of this, I’ve allowed Noriki to approach. To my eyes, Noriki’s eyes were, as always, slightly tensed, and he was expressionless as he dashed in. He was always a child whom I could never completely understand, but I’m more than satisfied if he understands teamwork.

Noriki’s weapons were his fists.

His right side was pulled back, the palm of his clenched fist facing upwards. The reason his left shoulder was slightly sticking out was because he planned to thunder his right fist straight forward, aided by the recoil of his left shoulder being forced back.

Noriki’s attack would come immediately after this, the instant I step down with my right foot. In order to withdraw my sword on the spot, just after swinging it down, I’ll have to bring my right foot down to act as an anchor. Noriki is aiming for that moment.

As he’s dashing in from a running trajectory, the attack will come from above Tenzou, who’s crouched down. An attack that’ll come from above the longsword I’ve slashed downwards.

As such, Oriotorai moved.

To counterattack.

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