To Be a Power in the Shadows! - Chapter 19[Updated at: 2021-01-11 09:21:34]
“Y-, you, why are you here?!”
Upon turning a corner, Alexia finds before her a face that she is quite familiar with.
“There’s no ‘why’ about it. This facility is mine, after all. I made an investment in that man. That’s all there is to it.”
Blond hair, a well-featured face, and that confident smile. It is none other than Zenon-sensei.
“What a relief. I’ve always that that you must have some screws loose in your head. Feels good to be proven right.”
So says Alexia while slowly backing up, one step at a time.
Behind Zenon is a flight of stairs. Most likely, that is the way out.
“Is that so? I don’t care what you feel though. All I want is your blood.”
“Every single person here keeps going on and on about blood. Are you guys researching vampires in here?”
“For you, it might be something similar.”
“Wasn’t actually hoping for an answer. I have zero interest in the occult.”
“Thought as much.”
“I’m sure you already know, but the Knight Order will arrive very soon. You’re already finished.”
“Finished? Exactly what is it of mine that would be finished?”
Zenon’s smile is the same as ever.
“Your social status and prestige will be ripped from you, and of course your life too. I’ll drop the guillotine blade for you.”
“See, that’s not gonna happen. Because you and I will be escaping through an escape tunnel. Together.”
“Wow, what a romantic invitation. But unfortunately, I hate your very guts.”
“Oh, you will come with me. With your blood and my experiments, the 12th Seat of the Rounds will be mine. The status of such a position is like heaven and earth in comparison to a worthless position like ‘Swordsmanship Instructor.’ ”
“ ‘Rounds’? Is that what you and your group of crazy friends call yourselves?”
“Twelve knights recognized and chosen by the Order, ‘Knights of Rounds.’ Status, prestige, and wealth, everything will come to my hands at a rate incomparable to anything before. My strength has already been acknowledged. The only thing that I have left to do is to present a tangible achievement, but that will soon be cleared too, courtesy of your blood and my research.”
(T/N: Yep this naming is a reference to the Knights of the Round Table. But the author even used katakana to indicate that he wants them to be called Knights of Rounds, so I’m going to stick with that.)
Zenon spreads his hands theatrically and laughs.
“Really couldn’t care less. More like, I’m getting tired of this stupid conversation about blood.”
“To be honest, if I could choose, I’d have preferred Princess Iris’ blood, but I suppose I’ll have to make do with yours.”
“I will fucking kill you.”
“Oh, pardon, you dislike being compared to your sister, right?”
Alexia’s flare of killing intent turns into the starting bell of their fight.
Her sword flies straight to Zenon’s neck, but……
“Ooooo, so scary.”
It is repelled by Zenon at the last possible moment.
Then he also proceeds to handle Alexia’s follow up attacks.
The two swords collide violently again and again, filling the air with sparks.
Just by looking at the exchange of blows and the two swords dancing through the air, it can perhaps be said that the two are equal.
However, the facial expression of the two are in sharp contrast.
Alexia’s is grim, while Zenon’s is a relaxed smile.
Sure enough, the one at a disadvantage is Alexia.
After a soft click of the tongue, Alexia retreats from Zenon’s maai.
“In the short time that I haven’t seen you, it seems that you’ve changed to using a rather cheap sword.”
What Zenon is looking at is Alexia’s sword. Alexia also looks at it, albeit with a bitter expression. Although it hasn’t been long since the start of the fight, her blade is already chipped in numerous places.
“Masters don’t choose their sword, right?”
Alexia decides to put up a strong front.
“That’s true. Actual masters, that is.”
“But you, you are a commoner. That I can guarantee, as the Swordsmanship Instructor.”
Alexia’s face visibly distorts.
For a split second, she looks close to tears, then the next moment it is all wiped away by a fierce anger.
“Then you keep looking. Whether or not I am a commoner.”
With another flare of killing intent, she dives back into the fray.
Alexia knows. She knows that even if she fights Zenon with normal circumstances, she wouldn’t win. And now, her weapon is even a cheap, mass-produced sword. It will not last long.
However, Alexia has not been swinging her sword everyday for nothing. With her sister as a goal, she has been analyzing her own shortcomings, and pouring in effort to overcome them. And she has also seen her sister’s sword up close far more than anyone else.
She is already capable of flawlessly tracing a tiny bit of her sister’s sword.
Which is why she can easily pull off this move.
That one attack truly resembled that of her sister’s.
For the first time, the smile is wiped off of Zenon’s face.
He is also forced to inject magic into his sword.
The two swords meet in a violent clash, then bounce back from the recoil.
The two were equal…… no.
It was Alexia who had come out slightly on top in that exchange.
There is a single red line left on Zenon’s face.
With a surprised face, Zenon traces the cut with a finger, then confirms the redness on his finger.
It is pure and simple praise, with no hidden meanings at all.
“I truly did not expect you to be hiding something like this.”
Zenon continues gazing at his finger in different angles, as if to confirm the color of his blood.
“I will make you regret it if you underestimate me.”
However, the smile is back on Zenon’s face.
“I am indeed surprised. But I am only surprised. In the end, it is merely a mimicry. This is far too removed from the original.”
Zenon shakes his head.
“You sure know how to talk.”
“Since we’re at it, how about I get a bit serious?”
So saying, he takes a stance with his sword.
The very air around them changes.
The magic surrounding Zenon qualitatively becomes sharper and more condensed.
“Allow me to say this beforehand. Up to now, I have never once gotten serious in front of outsiders. What you will now see is my true sword, and is also the strength of someone who will soon become a member of the Rounds.”
Then the air shakes.
The very dimension that they are on is too far apart.
This strike contains far more power than Alexia has ever seen Zenon pour into his sword.
Genius and commoner…… the gap between the two is too vast. The unbridgeable distance causes Alexia to despair.
She acknowledges that this man’s strength might even be enough to match her sister.
Alexia has no way to defend herself from the blade speeding towards her with overwhelming pressure.
It is only due to her many years of training that at least her body’s muscle memory kicks in.
However, there is no clash.
Sword meets sword…… then Alexia’s sword simply shatters into pieces.
Alexia feels herself looking at those glittering fragments flying through the air as if it is somebody else’s business.
As if she is looking on from far away.
The far off memories from her childhood, when she had been swinging her sword because it was so fun, flashes through her mind.
And her sister had always been right beside her.
These are memories from so long ago that she had already forgotten them.
“You cannot be like your sister.”
A single tear falls from the corner of Alexia’s eye.
“You will come with me now.”
From her hand falls what is now a mere handle.
It makes a dry rattle upon hitting the ground.
Then at that moment.
A sound of footsteps rings out from behind Zenon.
Katsu. Katsu. Katsu.
Someone is coming down the stairs.
When the sound finally stops……
A man wearing a jet black coat is there.