Prologue – Those Lined Up Before the Horizon
The running Tenzou thought this:
…Indeed, this is my area of expertise!
Oriotorai was currently sprinting in a straight line over the rooftops, which had bad footing. Vaulting over chimneys, things sticking out of the roof and various other structures, her speed did not drop in the slightest even as she flew over the rooftops.
Faced with that, I cannot do the same. A woman’s speed drops when she jumps over an obstacle, but if a man tries to speed up while doing so, his feet will be caught by the unsteady roof.
However, I am a ninja. I chose to practice moving through treacherous roads during our lessons, and when Musashi entered port in a mountainous territory, I was trained to run across mountains, in addition to survival training.
I knew that I would be the first to catch up to Oriotorai in this kind of situation. I have to lower her speed here, or she will gain an irreversible advantage.
Therefore, I must hasten forth.
Simple slashes of the sword have already been deflected…even gunshots have been sliced out of the air. If I am to strike, it will have to be a serious blow.
The ninja who specialises in treacherous roads follows the substyle of the School Rules created by the English.
“Style: Ninja Forcer, Tenzou…!”
“Hey now, when a ninja starts shouting, what’s wrong with the world?”
I don’t care.
As he shouted, Tenzou increased his speed. The distance from him to the running Oriotorai was roughly fifteen meters. On the roof between them, Tenzou ran in a low posture, as if he was scaling a wall.
He went. He approached her.
Oriotorai’s weapon is a longsword. It’s not a weapon that’s made to attack in a position where one is running backwards. No matter the circumstances, it is especially difficult for long objects to attack low places. Because the sword’s trajectory is curved, it cannot reach low places. If she tries to have it reach a low position, drop her waist and bend forward, her sword will hit the roof, and in that position she will no longer be able to run backwards.
Therefore, to move in a way so as to counter the use of a longsword, I have to take a low position.
Before his eyes, Oriotorai drew the longsword on her back with her right hand, but it was still in its sheathe. As might be expected, it seemed that she did not want to smash the naked blade into her students.
‘She’s a good teacher“, Tenzou thought.
She occasionally causes violent incidents, but she would not attack him. Someone who keeps things safe is a good teacher. Don’t ask me if she isn’t actually like that, though.
In any case, Tenzou calculated their speeds. He thought of the current speed of approach and the speed at which Oriotorai would smash him with her sword.
The trajectory, the position and distance came together instantaneously.
…Because I’m low…
His thoughts screamed a warning signal.
My speed is more than enough. My method of shortening the distance and the number of steps I’m taking are optimal. I can hammer in an attack while standing up. But, after that…
…I can’t. I can’t block the combination that’s already headed my way…!
Just before, when she placed her hand on the longsword’s hilt, she had started a series of movements. As she stretched her right arm upward, her right knee had been raised. In the midst of her running movements, it was a movement that nearly escaped his eyes, but she appeared to slide her right butt forward, pulling her waist in so she could move into the next movement.
He could predict it.
Oriotorai’s next movement will bring her outstretched right foot downward, as if pounding with a hammer. At the same time, she will swing her longsword down into me. However, with her right foot, which will have been drilled into the roof, she will forcefully jump backward. Before the longsword can strike the roof, Oriotorai will perform a large bound backwards.
The conclusion. Unable to dodge the blow, Tenzou will be smashed from above, becoming a ‘大’ on the ground. If things go poorly, he would be buried in the straw of the roof.
An instant. Oriotorai’s longsword burst up in an upward-arc.
It came. Therefore Tenzou shouted.
This response came from above. A shadow flitted down towards the area above Oriotorai, who had already swung her sword.
The shadow was large, and it had two horns.
The half-dragon Ulquiaga had jumped from the roof of the adjacent building.