The Sword Princess Battles the Fallen Knight
“Bring me to justice? What are you talking about? Do you see me as some kind of criminal?”
“….Are you even aware of what you’re doing right now?”
As everyone in that room continued to ignore Alice who screamed for help as she slowly fused with Gran’s body, Philia asked Gran with narrowed eyes.
Does he simply not understand the monstrosity he has become? Or does he not care? The Grandmaster of the Imperial Knights, now a monster made up of countless human limbs, raised Dáinsleif proudly in his right hand.
“Of course I am. Look at how this powerful right arm of mine twists and pulses! It’s a manifestation of the strongest power in the world! I have become the greatest knight for Alice’s sake!”
“Haaaa!? What are you talking about!? You, hurry up and save me!! Do you not heed your Empress’ orders!?”
“I won’t lose to little girls like yourself or to people like Shirley ever again! Even that Golden Witch that is constantly a thorn in the Empire’s side isn’t a match for me! With this power of mine, be it love or fame, I shall obtain it all!”
Alice’s scream was ignored again. As Gran stared at the sword in his hand with clouded eyes, it seemed that his sanity had completely left him and Philia looked at him with something close to pity.
He’s completely drunk on his own power. It doesn’t look like he can distinguish his own delusions from the reality that confronts him anymore either. If he was simply mad, there might have been something they could do, but right now he is little more than a monster.
“What are you blathering about!? I am the glorious Empress!? When I tell you to save me, hurry up and do it! You scum!!”
And under these wild circumstances, Alice who can still rant and rave like that is quite out of the ordinary herself. It should go without saying, but the majority of people who were being sucked into the body of a strange monster would faint from the fear and shock, some ordinary noblewoman would hardly still be able to yell like this.
In front of those two people, who are unsightly in very different ways, Lumiliana glanced at Philia whilst keeping her eye on the monster. As Philia saw that meaningful gaze, she nodded and began to back away slowly.
“You’ve been an obstacle in my way for far too long! You ruined my perfect tournament record! But… That ends today! I shall cut you down right now and take the prize for this year’s tournament too!”
Gran, who somehow seems to believe that he would even be allowed to step into the arena as he looks now, extended his right arm like a whip and swung his blade.
It was a sword technique far beyond what any human could do. As the sword tore through the walls and furniture in its way as it raced towards her, just before it was about to cut the female knight in two, Lumiliana poured magical energy into Clarent and created a wall of earth that smashed Gran’s sword arm into the ceiling.
It must have torn all the way into the attic. Lumiliana, who would never miss a gap that large, slashed with her heirloom blade four times at untold speed.
Strikes composed of all the five elements that her sword commanded smashed into Gran’s limbs. Because of just how thick his muscle was, the attacks didn’t tear right through him, but they destroyed almost half of the grotesque limbs pulsating around the aberrant knight’s body.
“GYAAAAAAAAAAAAH!? I-IT HUUUUUUUUUUUURTS!?”
What’s more, the areas hit were also engulfed in flame and zapped with electrical energy. As she approached Gran who writhed in agony as the places she had wounded him were still burning, Lumiliana thought about rescuing Alice but, feeling a sudden killing intent, leapt to her right and rolled away in a hurry.
The next moment, the entire mansion shook as an arm smashed through the floor where she had just stood. Gran, who had pulled his sword from the ceiling and swung it at her in one motion, completely crushed the wooden floorboards, leaving a massive hole in the room.
“I’m fine! I can use barrier magic! Focus on the enemy in front of you!”
They were dealing with a truly dangerous monster. Lumiliana, worried about her master’s safety, turned around to see that Philia had protected herself with a blue coloured barrier as she slowly kept retreating.
Philia may seem well guarded by escorts, considering she’s the Imperial princess, but considering how many times she’s targeted by assassins, it’s only natural that she taught herself barrier and healing magic. Even if she’s not able to participate in battles herself, she’s become something of a survival expert, so she should be able to escape no matter how this battle went.
“Haa…. Haaa…. Hahahahahaha! Look, my limbs are already restored! With my peerless power, I truly am invincible!”
Was it the power of regeneration that was possessed by high class monsters like dragon kings? That ugly, writhing mass of arms that didn’t seem to have a single scratch on it swung again. Walls and shelves were blown away again, but this time the knight of the princess dashed forward after dodging the attack and as if her legs were coiled springs, leapt up high and cleaved the top of Gran’s skull off.
“NOOOOOOOOOOO! It’s filthy! Don’t get blood on my dress!”
The blood pouring like a waterfall from Gran’s head splashed onto Alice, half fused into his body. The head was the weak point of both semi-immortal and regenerating creatures, so this should have ended the battle, but surprisingly a seething mass of small hands exploded from the wound on his head and reattached his sliced skull.
“Take a good look! I won’t die even if you took off my head! There isn’t a single person in this world who can defeat me anymore!!”
Winding back his right arm as if drawing a bow, he propelled it forward with a stab. The blow twisted and turned like a snake defying all logic, something seemingly impossible to predict the movement of, as it bounced off the floor and sped toward Lumiliana’s head.
Lumiliana was frustrated as she barely dodged in time, the sword tearing through the fabric of her clothes slightly. Putting aside his inhuman strength, the way his sword arm moves goes beyond human ability as well, constantly twisting and turning like he has no bones at all.
What’s more, even if you sliced open his head, he still continued to regenerate. Instead of a living thing, it was like he was some kind of magical phenomenon.
(Then, where do I attack…!?)
Just what is the source of his power? It could only be Dáinsleif. According to the former head of the Wolff family’s story from before, his ancestors had succeeded in defeating the Prince by cutting away the sword from his fingers.
But right now, the hand that held the blade was incredibly thick due to how many excess limbs had amassed around it. Then, the only way was to destroy the sword itself.
Thankfully, she knew how to use the technique of the iron cutting blade. As that sword snaked towards her once again, Lumiliana crashed her Clarent into Gran’s Dáinsleif.
But, instead, it was Clarent that shattered. Even if it was swung into orichalcum, it wasn’t a blade that would simply snap in a single swing. Lumiliana avoided the swinging sword that lost no momentum by jumping backwards over his left arm, trying to use her experience as a duelist to understand what happened.
(It didn’t feel like orichalcum or flame steel…! Then, is this made from a metal even harder than those!?)
If that’s the case, it narrows the possibilities down. A metal that was considered more durable than any other. Lumiliana, as a swordswoman, had heard of it before.
“An adamantine sword…! It’s impossible to destroy?”
It is said that, in the forging of blades made using this metal, the dwarves use special rituals to ensure that it won’t ever be damaged by the wear and tear of battle or the flames of a rival forge. The only disadvantage is that it is limited in the number of enchantments it can hold, but that doesn’t matter much for a specialized sword like Dáinsleif.
“Your efforts are in vain! My sword is unbreakable! With my newfound power, my sword skills are unmaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAATCHED!”
This wasn’t your own power… There was no skill in wildly flailing those monstrous arms around almost blindly, but she had to admit that it definitely hindered her own movements.
Since chipping away at it would have no effect due to Gran’s regeneration, she had to find a way to sever Dáinsleif in one blow. She tried to follow the movements of its arm as it swung around violently.
“What’s wrong, huh!? You can’t do a thing against my power, can you!?”
Gran grinned viciously at Lumiliana, who didn’t seem to have an answer to him, as he stretched out his arms to attack her, even kicking out with a deformed leg. This wasn’t a duel between knights anymore, but a battle against a monster.
Clearly, she’s outmatched. It’s a fact that in terms of power, speed and stamina, he’s currently towering about Lumiliana. At first glance, it looks like the female knight is being pushed into a corner.
But, she’s biding her time. Against those attacks that can barely be followed with the eyes, the young genius uses both incredible foresight to read her enemy, predicting just where her opponent’s strikes will flow to next, making her dodges look almost effortless.
And even more than that, she launches a counter-attack every time he leaves even a single gap. In contrast to Lumiliana’s cold assurance in herself, Gran’s mind that had been so boastful and cocksure just a moment ago begins to have a nagging doubt.
He screamed as a stab to his face cost him an eye. Although it’s restored straight away, his right arm grew marginally thinner. That blow seemed to have seriously punctured Gran’s hubris as he backed away slightly, shouting loudly.
“WHY!? WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY!? I’ve obtained ultimate power, so why is this happening!? Why can’t I kill a single little girl!? Why am I the one being forced back!?”
This wasn’t the glorious victory he had imagined. He was supposed to completely overwhelm his opponent, hear her scream in agony and only grant her the mercy of death when she begged for it. Even if he’s still able to heal himself, he never expected to be the only person suffering any kind of wounds in this battle.
Just how was this becoming so one-sided? Why couldn’t his sword even graze Lumiliana’s flesh? Why? WHY? Running away from the reality that he was still outmatched even though he possessed this incredible power, he swung his blade like an enraged toddler, completely abandoning his fighting form.
As Gran smashed the floor, burning with rage at this humiliation, Alice screamed as well. Was Lumiliana using some kind of cheat or trick once again? His thoughts raced away from the obvious truth in order to preserve his pride, but the Princess of the Sword spoke bluntly as she looked on.
“Why? Isn’t it obvious? No matter how much power you rob from others, it doesn’t make a difference if that strength is in the hands of a weak man.”
“…Weak? You call me weak!?”
His power and speed exceed Lumiliana’s by many magnitudes. But somehow, she was saying that he was the weak one? As that young girl he had held a grudge against for the past year said that, Gran felt so angry that he felt that his brain would boil over, but the next words he heard stunned him into silence.
“The same swings over and over again without any thought or sophistication, simply relying on monstrous strength… If you’re so monotonous, it’s obvious that I can read your moves. You’ve obsessed over Her Imperial Highness for years, completely neglecting your training. Right now, in a sense, you’re weaker than a squire.”
It was true. Since he became so enamoured with Alice, he had almost completely dropped his once strict regimen of training. As Lumiliana went on, Gran couldn’t think of anything he could say against this young girl.
“You call yourself a knight, but honestly, I don’t see how. Chivalry is about protecting others with your life… You should know full well, as a senior knight, that it is your duty to put your body and soul on the line for your liege. Do you have someone like that? Someone that you would sacrifice your life for?”
“I do…! For Alice’s sake…!”
“So what you’re saying is that you simply wield your blade for your own desires? I won’t judge you for doing that, but do not call yourself a knight as you continue to hurt the person you claim to protect. Besides that, the feelings behind your blade are weak… That’s why, in that sense, you’re weaker than a humble squire.”
After he met Alice… No, after he had found himself losing to Shirley all those years ago, Gran couldn’t deny that he had strayed from the path of the ideal knight that he had once sought after.
If he had true power, he could acquire both personal glories as well as Alice. Gran had convinced himself of that as he accumulated power at the cost of the mountain of corpses he stood upon, but right now the difference in skill between the girl who stood strong in front of him and the petulant monster that pounded the floor was like a chasm.
His mind a blur, Gran couldn’t accept it. Incensed that this young girl who was called a genius had scoffed at all the struggles that he had gone through, he spat out a curse as he looked down.
“Maybe if you truly had something to protect, like Shirley-sama… No, there’s no point in saying anything more. Gran Wolff, I shall end you here!”
Gran’s mind flickered as he heard that word. Of course, wasn’t it only after Shirley reared her head that everything started going wrong for him? In other words, Shirley was the true culprit. Lumiliana’s one-sided assault, Alice’s sudden anger towards him, all of it must be because of Shirley’s plot! Ten years ago, not only did that evil woman torment and torture Alice, but she also put some sort of terrible curse on him!
As he solidified that as the truth in his head, skeletal arms burst out from Gran’s back, forming wings held together by leathery skin. As he flapped, wind tore through the room, smashing the glass windows behind him.
He’s going to escape. Lumiliana sensed this instinctively and after jumping as high as she could, tried to slice the wings of Gran’s back, but ten grotesque monsters tore out from Gran’s body all at once, covered in arms and legs, stopping the Sword Princess in her tracks.
It was the monsters they’ve heard about before… The revenants of Dáinsleif that Gran had spawned. As Lumiliana was held off by those creatures, Gran kicked hard off the floorboards and took off on those ugly wings, his eyes turning in the direction of the Kingdom.
 Zantetsuken (斬鉄剣)