Kilnenko made the first move. A thrust with his short spear. As expected from an instructor, his attack was smooth and quick.
The difference between a one-handed sword and a short spear was, of course, the length of the weapon and how one would use it – slicing and thrusting, respectively.
If one extended their sword against a spear thrust, the latter would hit first. It made sense, therefore, for Kilnenko to do a thrust, taking advantage of his weapon’s reach.
Hikaru smirked. That’s too obvious, though.
With a clang, the spear’s tip was deflected upward like it had a life of its own. Kilnenko was shocked. Seeing the opening, Claude quickly closed the distance and slashed downward.
Mustering all his strength, the professor jumped to the side to dodge. But with his stance broken, he rolled to the ground.
「Please stand up, Professor. I prefer not to cut down people who are on their knees.」
Kilnenko turned red from Claude’s words. Ivan whistled in surprise.
「You were just lucky!」
The professor stepped forward and launched a barrage of attacks, but Claude parried each strike casually with his sword.
「Why… Why… Why can’t I hit you?!」
Kilnenko’s face grew even redder, but there was no sign of him ever landing a hit.
「That’s gotta be really frustrating.」Ivan muttered.「How can Claude even dodge so easily?」
「He just got better with the sword.」
「I can see that. But he just casually brushes the weapon aside like it’s nothing.」
「Ah, that’s because Kilnenko’s weapon is long.」
「The longer the weapon, the less force at the tip. Take the first thrust for example. While it has high piercing power, it’s weak against forces from the sides. That’s why even a one-handed sword can deflect it easily.」
「It’s also difficult to dodge downward swings from great swords where the wielder has to put power into it with both hands. Plus the weapon’s heavy.」
「So that’s why during our training, he backed away from my downward swings, but deflected my thrusts and side swings.」
「Exactly. I think a short spear is better used with a shield. Why doesn’t Kilnenko use one?」
「Apparently because it’s lame.」
「Excuse me, what?」
「Claude told me that he said “it’s best to use a single short spear and that’s it” in class. When asked, he ultimately answered “you only look dull with a shield”.」
Hey, Ludancia. Are you sure about sending a guy like that to the academy? While it wasn’t Hikaru’s problem, he felt just a bit worried.
「I think that’s enough.」
「I… I can still…」
「How many more times do you have to pick up your weapon?」
All in all, Claude had knocked away Kilnenko’s weapon three times.
「It’s over.」Mikhail said.
With rugged breath, Kilnenko hung his head low, hands on the ground.
「Damn it, Claude. You could’ve at least hit him once.」Hikaru muttered under his breath.
「Did you say something?」Ivan asked.
「I felt something sinister.」
「I didn’t say anything, okay?」
Claude gave Hikaru and Ivan a thumbs up.
「Look out, Claude!」
Thanks to Hikaru’s warning, Claude noticed the arrow flying towards him. It came from the bow-wielding professor. He aimed for the head, but Claude deflected the arrow with a swing of his sword.
「What was that just now?!」Mikhail shouted.
「This is a three-round match and I’m up next.」the man said.
「I didn’t tell you to start!」
「This is a mock battle. You’ve gone soft, Professor Mikhail. You can’t let your guard down in a fight.」
The arrow used was for practice as well, with a rubber arrowhead. But still it could crush the eyes if it hit. And since he fired one without hesitation, Mikhail had all the right to get furious.
「Don’t bring your personal grudges into this!」Mikhail exclaimed.
「Are you sure you’re even taking this mock battle seriously? I’ll just have to teach this cocky student a lesson—」
「You’re absolutely right.」
Claude closed the gap in one breath.
「You can’t let your guard down in a fight, Professor.」
「The fight hasn’t started ye—」
This time, Claude swung his sword down on the man’s right shoulder without holding back. His collarbone cracked as it made a dull sound.
「Thanks to you, I’m over my worries. I know I don’t have to go easy on you. I don’t need to hesitate. I guess… you’re next.」
The last man produced his long spear and lunged straight at Claude’s neck. Long spears were heavy, so parrying it with a lone sword was difficult. Claude twisted his body to dodge and grabbed the spear.
「So what if you caught my spear? Let’s see if you can—」
The instructor pulled his weapon, which Claude let go immediately.
He staggered backwards from the momentum, but managed to brace himself and plant his feet firmly on the ground. Claude drew closer, brandishing his sword. Expecting a downward swing, the man tried to block with his weapon’s grip.
His eyes widened as Claude kicked him right in the balls. He then dropped his weapon before collapsing.
The kick was so ruthless that Hikaru, Ivan, and Mikhail turned pale.
「I believe it’s over, Professor Mikhail.」
「Ah, yes. That was excellent. The winner is Claude Zahard Kirihal!」
Claude heaved a sigh of relief. It was clear who won from the scene before them: A dumbfounded Kilnenko, the archer with a look of anguish, and the long spear instructor who was out cold.
「You learn this kind of trick from Hikaru whether you like it or not.」
Wait a sec! You were with Ivan almost the entire time! Hikaru wanted to complain.
「Yeah. Hikaru’s nasty methods are very educational.」Ivan concurred.