Chapter 78: Inverse
Using one of the rooms in the restaurant of Rikka firm, Rio wrote the reconciliation contract that will be used for negotiations with Stead’s group.
After he finished making the contract, he went back to Miharu and the others who were waiting for him in the terrace seat, Rio noticed the gloomy atmosphere that was drifting in that place.
It seems they were waiting in worry for Rio’s return. Only Aisia looked like her usual self.
Celia, who was worrying about the way the situation turned and felt guilty for leaving everything in the negotiations to Rio, could tell that Miharu’s group, who are Japanese, were showing vague signs of being frightened.
That should be natural.
For them who came and lived peacefully in Japan till just a while ago, the situation that almost turned into a bloodshed quarrel in the restaurant seemed to be the first time for them.
They were almost turned into slaves’ right after coming to this world.
But, since that event was strange in many ways, their sense of crisis faded for the time being, the current situation was one they could easily understand.
Afterward, their peaceful everyday life went on thanks to Rio, they almost had no chances to leave to another place since they were too busy learning the local language.
That’s why, today’s event might become a good chance for them to feel a sense of crisis once again.
Rio decided to teach swordsmanship to Masato immediately.
The next day, in the open space within the forest that is located southwest from Almond, Rio and Masato faced each other.
Though Miharu and Aki were going to be instructed in pole arts, he decided to teach swordsmanship to Masato first, responding to a demand called wanting to see their training, Miharu and Aki sat on the hanging chair that was placed in front of the house.
「It’s unexpected but, today we’ll do a mock battle. The things like foot movements and forms are the material for next time. Let’s do a light warm up before starting」
「Ossu！ Please! 」
Masato replied in a slightly tense state to Rio’s words.
During actual combat is not the time to warm up, since now is training, they need to make the necessary preparations to lower the chance of injury.
Rio looked at Masato’s excited state that was warming up while doing light stretches himself.
「Uhm, Haruto-san. You won’t do something too dangerous right?」
Miharu timidly asked Rio.
「Yes. It might become a little violent but, I’ll be careful to not cause injuries as much as possible」
Miharu made a wish for him to not cause an injury to Minoru, Rio replied while showing a smile as if trying to ease her worry.
The things in their hands were real swords.
Though he could heal wounds with spirit arts if something unexpected happened, it doesn’t mean that Rio had a tendency of showing sceneries that are bad for the heart[gory].
There’s a bit of consideration during the training, but he decided to not pamper Masato.
Rio braced his awareness to avoid bloodshed as much as possible.
「You too Masato-kun. And Haruto-san too」
Miharu was saying those words for she blindly trusted Rio to not cause injuries
「We…….. the matter of Masato learning swordsmanship is something that we deemed as necessary. But, uhm………… please don’t do something too dangerous. Uhm, the thing of me asking for an unreasonable wish is something that I understand but, I really didn’t wish for any injury or, uhm……」
Before her thought could catch it properly, maybe because she was addressing Rio by impulse, Miharu was at a loss for words as she was unable to properly convey her feelings.
It just came out when she noticed her own anxiousness when looking at the form of Rio grasping his sword.
Suddenly, the form of the stout-hearted Rio defending them before appeared in Miharu’s mind.
Though the Rio of that time was really dependable, she thought that he’s like a separated existence that creates a great distance from them.
Miharu also noticed the figure of one boy when looking at his back.
（Is it because I said those kinds of words to Aki-chan……）
Miharu recalled the words said by Aki when they were in the dress shop of Almond.
――Somehow, Haruto-san resembles Haru-kun……
That time, why did she suddenly say those words to Aki? That’s something that she herself did not understand.
But, after her first visit to Almond along with Rio, Miharu started to vaguely overlap the figure of her childhood friend with Rio’s.
The catalyst was when just the two of them walked in the city, that’s when she felt a deja vu walking on the roadside.
――She noticed that she walked along like this with that person a long time ago.
Though she couldn’t remember herself, at that time, Miharu recalled the existence of Amakawa Haruto.
After that, though the time when they shopped together to buy underwear was truly embarrassing, that moment was truly enjoyable.
And then, when they had their lunch, she heard a little bit regarding Rio’s previous life.
Rio was a college student in his previous life.
He didn’t tell his name.
He said he would tell the detailed story after the situation calmed down.
In addition, if speaking about another thing that she knows, was it her experience with a part time job in the restaurant?
Next is the fact that he regained the memories of his previous life during his childhood, after that, Miharu heard a vague tale about him travelling to various places alone.
His real name is Rio, he usually uses Haruto as an alias.
Haruto――, to Miharu, this alias is another reason to why the figure of Haruto overlapped with Rio.
Once she started to feel the similarity between Rio and Haruto, on some occasions Miharu became conscious of Rio.
And then, though it’s something that is impossible to understand, she came to a suspicion.
Maybe, Rio’s the reincarnation of Amakawa Haruto.
Because their atmosphere somehow resembled each other’s, maybe when Amakawa Haruto grew up, he might resemble this person.
But, Rio and Haruto are different people.
In the first place, their age isn’t consistent.
Rio’s age was the same as Miharu’s, and Haruto was a college student, it didn’t match no matter how she calculated it.
Though Miharu also steeled herself to hear the name of Rio’s previous life, she was scared of hearing the answer.
She promised to hear the story of his previous life.
But, more than anything else, though it’s just a possibility that they might not be able to return to earth, a world without Haruto was truly scary.
It’s a recollection of her 7 years old self and it might just be a beautification but still, Miharu felt her chest become warmer again and again whenever she thought about Haruto.
This emotion never changed even until now.
That’s why Miharu was unconsciously stopping herself from interposing Haruto on Rio.
―― I want to go back. I want to go back. Haru-kun…..Dad, Mom.
That’s her wish after coming to this world, the nights in which she cried alone were not a few.
But, she somehow felt relieved the next morning when she looked at Rio’s face whose nickname is Haruto.
Somehow, Rio felt really familiar to her, she felt relaxed only when she’s in this place.
This kind of broadmindedness of his is as if they’ve always been together.
So Miharu felt that certainly, Rio and Haruto might be similar in this point.
….. Though she knows that it’s very impolite of her to do something like overlapping Haruto on Rio, whether it’s to Haruto or Rio.
Yesterday, Miharu felt her chest tingling with pain when she peeked at Rio’s profile when he confronted Stead’s group.
The Rio of that time showed an extremely cold face but, for Miharu, it was truly painful to see that, as if he was desperately enduring something.
Celia has said that there was no need to think about this but ――
The trace of Haruto that she saw in Rio seemed to transform into a completely different person.
The Rio of that time was obviously a completely different person from Amakawa Haruto who was overlapped by Miharu.
Though the existence of Haruto, overlapped by Miharu, seemed to be vanishing from the inside of Rio――
Her body, and mind, trembled when she noticed that change.
The person who exists in her memories, that is a little clumsy but has a bottomless kindness, was lost during that time.
――No, please not anymore！
And now, looking at Rio standing in front of Masato while holding his sword, Miharu unintentionally spoke her own thoughts.
His face isn’t as cold as yesterday but, the current Rio is slightly tense.
Rio called Miharu who was crying silently before he became aware of it.
「Uhm, I’m sorry…… I just suddenly felt weird」
Miharu shook her head while mustering the best smile she could do to Rio who looked at her face as if worrying about her.
「Please rest for a while in the house if your physical condition is bad. Since, uhm, the content of the training might be a little extreme」
Rio smiled vaguely as he suddenly averted his line of sight from Miharu.
Miharu noticed the shadow in Rio’s smiling face.
It was very painful for her to look at his smile, it seems like he’s enduring something――.
She didn’t want to see this kind of face on Rio.
Miharu called to Rio with an anxious voice.
Just like that, she noticed that the Haruto in Rio truly disappeared.
She almost stretched her hand on impulse, but, still, she desperately endured it.
Ah, I can’t do this, this person isn’t Haruto, I can feel it.
She was unintentionally fed up with her own weakness.
Rio replied firmly when his name was called by Miharu.
He knew just by a quick look at Miharu, she was denying his painful-to-look at smile.
「Uhm, Haruto-san can’t get yourself injured too you know？」
The words that came out from Miharu’s lips on the spur of the moment were this kind of remark.
Miharu smiled as if troubled by it.
And, Rio gave a nod while smiling wryly.
And then, at that time.
「O~y, Haruto-anchan！ I’ve finished with my warm ups！ I’m ready！ 」
Masato who finished with his warm up exercises in a slightly separated space, called Rio with a cheerful tone.
「Yeah, I’ll be there right away」
Rio left that place while answering Masato’s call.
「Well then, I’m off」
After saying those words with a slightly frigid tone, Rio departed from Miharu’s side, and faced Masato on the open field.
「Though You must pay attention when handling your sword, it’s better if you use every bit of your strength. Strangely, your movement when you become excited will become stronger and harder to control. Because we’re using real swords」
Rio said that when he see Masato who’s brimming with energy.
Masato had a light leather armor on his body, and was equipped with the shield and the one-handed sword that he bought in Almond
On Rio’s hand were a one-handed sword and a shield that he normally did not use.
Originally, Rio didn’t use a shield, his remaining empty hand is for when he uses his hand-to-hand combat, and thus he usually equips just a solid glove on that hand. [TL : Is the author creating Kiri- I mean Rio after watching SAO?]
Therefore, though the combat style which makes use of a shield is not Rio’s specialty, he is currently using it so as to guide Masato
A combination of sword and shield is a standard swordsmanship style in Strahl region, though there are different details for each country, commonly, this combination is used in most areas.
Whichever country the knight or soldiers are from, the swordsmanship basics that uses a sword and shield is included in their training, which means there are many users and teaching it to another person is possible because Rio learnt it at the royal academy.
Though this kind of swordsmanship is basically geared in the assumption of a battle against humans, it doesn’t mean that it’s completely useless when using it to go against wild beasts or monsters.
Of course there was difference in the movement of the running position and the size, though sword and spear in both hands style is suitable for facing against big monster, the orthodox swordsmanship is suitable for learning the basics of combat. [TL : What about spear?]
「The biggest advantage of combining a one-handed sword and a shield is the balance between attacking and defending, in actuality, personal experience is the fastest method to understand. Now come at me as much as you want」
Taking a short breath after saying that, Rio completely switched his consciousness. [TL : Rio-mode, there’s also Haruto-Mode, and the Ultimate Black Knight-Mode(Chuuni-mode)]
Though he definitely will not be killed, after feeling the clear aura of death, Masato’s body reacted with goose bumps.
Rio put his left foot one step forward and his right foot one step behind.
It’s inevitable to put the shield on his left hand facing to the front.
You can say that it was an orthodox stance without any gap.
In front of him, Masato took a stance quite close to fighting pose in a way that raising both of his arms. TL : Boxing stance, maybe]
Both of Masato’s sides had many openings.
「What’s the matter？ Come quickly」
Rio said those words with a cold tone.
Masato felt the painful prickling sensation in his chest.
Though he just did a short warm up, his heartbeat rising couldn’t be stopped.
Masato suddenly charged at Rio while raising a war cry.
But, maybe because he was seized by fear, he suddenly stopped charging right in front of Rio.
Rio let out an atmosphere of actual combat without minding about training, depending on the methods, it’s easy to kill a person with the weight of a real sword, everything about that fact weakened Masato’s movement.
「What’s the matter？ Don’t hold back. Swing your sword. No matter how you struggle, the current Masato can’t even put a scratch on me」
「………… RAA！ 」
Maybe because Rio’s provocative words, Masato released a wide slash at him.
Or rather than slashing, it’s more accurate to say that it’s just swinging.
Rio calmly walked ahead towards Masato’s sword beating it and using the force of the swing to repel the sword with his shield.
The sword bounced from Masato’s grip due to that impact.
Rio shouted at Masato.
The tip of Rio’s sword was his student’s throat who become defenseless before he noticed it.
Masato unintentionally gulped his saliva as he really feeling that death was at his side.
「Grip your sword properly. Grip it the way I taught you. And then, think properly about what is wrong with your movement just now. Now, pick your sword. Come at me again」
Rio pulled his sword after saying those words with a sharp tone.
Masato was overpowered due to the extremely different atmosphere compared to the usual Rio.
It’s not just Miharu who noticed the change in Rio’s atmosphere before the training, Aki and Celia also noticed the change and felt slightly frightened by Rio.
Miharu face that as if feeling anxious is being reflected on the edge of his vision.
Rio secretly chewed his lips.
「What’s the matter？ Pick it up quickly」
Ignoring the feeling as if wrenching his own heart, Rio said that to Masato who was standing still with a dumbfounded expression.
Masato’s body trembled with fear.
Though his line of sight is directed at the sword that fell right at his side, his body wouldn’t move an inch.
「Do you remember what I said before we bought your sword? What did I say I’m going to teach you？」
Rio said those words with a cold tone as if to penetrate into bone marrow.
This is not a game.
To make Masato truly aware of it.
Actually, Rio didn’t have any intention of teaching swordsmanship to him if Masato did it with a sense of playing.
「……This is the art…… Of killing」
Masato answered with a timid voice.
Masato completely withered like a child that was being scolded due to an unreasonable reason even if it’s his teacher or Parent.
His wording was also different from the usual friendly tone.
On that place was just a 12 years old kid who was not aware about death up till now.
「You’re just half-correct. The target of murder is not only humans. It’s every living being that comes to attack and can’t be stopped unless you kill them. If you understand, pick your sword」
「Ye-yes ……. 」
After answering, Masato picked his sword that lay in wait on the ground.
After gripping his sword with his trembling hand, he turned to Rio.
「If you’re getting a cold feet like that, you’ll lose even if your opponent is bare-handed. Your grip is still light」
When he casually approached, Rio flicked the sword from Masato’s hand with a light swing.
The flicked sword pierced the ground behind Masato.
「Once again. Pick your sword」
Masato’s groan as if about to vanish.
「Pick your sword quickly」
When Rio said that, Masato’s picking his sword in a hurry with a frightened state.
After that, Masato who came to attack Rio with a weak attitude and weak grip at his sword was repelled by Rio’s sword when he showed a gap in his defense, Rio kept on tormenting him by thrusting the tip of his sword before his throat.
Even Masato who experienced this so many times over, became slightly irritated and started to lose his constraint.
Maybe because it’s scary, or frustrating, Masato started to swing his sword while crying.
Discharging large amount of tears from his eyes, spilling nasal mucus from his nose but, he kept on swinging his sword.
Maybe because he started to adapt to Rio’s movements by watching him move, the gaps in his moves decreased bit by bit.
「That’s right. The shield can also be used to deliver a blow. But, don’t swing it carelessly. It’ll just increase your death openings」
While saying that, Rio drove in his sword towards Masato’s dead spot, and then thrust the tip of his sword in front of Masato’s throat.
Masato movement was interrupted.
Masato groaned in frustration.
When they took some distance bettween each other to do their match over again.
「U-Uhm！ Haruto-san! 」
Aki called Rio with a loud voice.
「What’s the matter？」
Rio asked by forcefully suppressing the emotions in his voice while sending a fleeting glance at Aki.
「Ah, uhhm, can you go easy for a bit…… Swordsmanship have “kata” or something like that right ？ Can you teach that way like how you teach us before？ 」
[TL : Kata is forms of martial arts, ex : Pencak silat from Indonesia have katas that mainly mimicking the wild beast like tiger, eagle, or monkey which they call “Tiger form/kata”. And stop referring to xianxia for kata since they basically just firing chinese version of kamehameha][Ed: Katas are detailed choreographed patterns of movements practiced either solo or in pairs.]
Though being faltered by Rio’s force, Aki said those words while staring into his eyes.
Aki couldn’t help but to stand for her little brother as she looked at his pitiful figure.
It was truly an important matter even if she can hardly give her opinion without flinching to the current Rio who emits an atmosphere that feels like killing intent.
Even if she normally rebukes with harsh words, that alone is the evidence of how dearly she thinks about Masato.
「Though it’s bad, the thing that I’m teaching now is a problem before I teach a form of swordsmanship to him」
Rio was shaking his head slightly.
「Then, what are you trying to teach him？ This is just bullying a weak person！ 」
Aki snapped at Rio.
「I mean, even Masato’s scared by it！」
She continued on while pointing at Masato.
After looking properly, his body was trembling slightly.
「Masato, do you want to stop？」
When Rio asked that, Masato trembled with a twitch.
「You can stop if you want to. Because combat is already impossible if you can’t even stand this level of training」
Rio squinted his eyes as he said those words and looked at Masato.
The still-water-like silence went on for a while.
It’s not just Aki.
Miharu, Celia, and Aisia too silently looked at Masato.
Even if they want to say something, this is not the right mood to cut in their conversation.
Masato muttered with a low voice.
「…… Bring it on！」
Now he said his words loudly as he glaring at Rio.
Rio grieved slightly.
「That’s his answer. I’m sorry but you must not interrupting our training after this」
He said that to Aki.
Aki made a face as if chewing a bitter bug.
Though she tried to say something, Masato stopped her with his glare.
And then, Rio and Masato started their mock battle again.
When the limit in Masato’s stamina came, the thing Rio did next is teach pole art for self-defense to the girls.
Different than when he trained with Masato, the first thing that Rio decided to teach them carefully was “Katas”.
Aki didn’t want to accept that.
Though she came angrily and asked for the same type of training as Masato’s, Rio rejected her wish.
Unable to silently watch Aki who was in a bad mood, Celia asked for a pole art and partnering with Aisia, even Aki couldn’t just go on with her silence and reluctantly gave up with her request.
Aki is quite a logical person, though it might be because she’s belligerent due to seeing the training before with Minoru, maybe because she’s originally a kind person, it seems she is not really talented with pole art.
Celia is, or should he say “As expected”, the most un-skilled person amongst the four with her extremely slow reflexes.
Though it’s within limitations if she raised her physical ability with magic, she shouldn’t do something so unreasonable, as the damage towards her body would be big if she does not train her body.
Unexpectedly, the one who showed the most talent is Aisia.
For some reason, Aisia is familiar in the way of using the pole combined with the wonderful combination of the body strengthening and her strengthened physical ability, she displayed a power that even Rio had a hard time handling.
After finishing training in various ways, though dinner time came right away, somehow he received a strained atmosphere till bed time.
After that, till the day he goes to Almond to meet Liselotte, it was just a repetition of training every day, somehow the days filled with a strained atmosphere also go on.
The night of the the first training, Rio was looking absentmindedly at the ceiling while lying on top of his bed.
「Am I hated?」
After releasing a deep sigh, Rio muttered in a low voice.
『That’s not true』
The voice of Aisia who was currently in her spirit form resounded inside Rio’s head.
Though her figure can’t be seen since she’s inside his body, the image of Aisia slightly shaking her head floated in his head.
Thereupon, he noticed that his chest became slightly lighter.
「I…… Wonder about that」
Rio’s seemingly anxious voice is resounded inside the room.
『It was something they need right？ It’s something you teach since they might die if they must fight』
Though her voice has no modulation, her caring atmosphere towards Rio is transmitted.
「That’s right. The truth is, I want to teach him starting from kata like Mi-chan too, but doing in a way of mock battle on top of that is better. Just for Masato, I wish him to adapt to the atmosphere of real combat as much as possible」
So he won’t hesitate when facing an opponent who’s coming to take his life.
Due to fear, the movement of his body is dulling that sensation.
By knowing about those facts, the probability of his survival will greatly increase.
They’ll be able to move to a certain extent if the opponent is from a lower rank supposing that they learn some sort of pole art from the very beginning.
Because the movement that ingrained into your flesh won’t betray you.
But, Masato is too weak.
It’s not like they’re taught hand-to-hand combat back in Japan, they couldn’t even use magic or spirit arts yet.
Judging from their amount of magical power by using Celia’s developed magic tools, Masato, Miharu and Aki’s magical power can’t be compared to the humans who live in this world, though its name is actually Odo, from the beginning they have no talent to use spirit art like Rio.
The thing they need to use spirit art is a suitable training.
The training to sense odo inside their body, the training to release odo according to their will, the training to sense the odo that was already released outside of their body, the training to control the odo in their body, training to see odo, training to sense the mana that is floating in the atmosphere, and training to invoke a phenomenon intervention in the mana by manipulating their odo.
Human sorcery need only the first 4 steps and use magic formation for the rest omitting the process following after the control of odo, even if it’s someone without much talent, the training will be done in several months.
On the other hand, depending on the individual talent in using spirit art, it requires several months to years of training.
From the fact that in Rio’s case, he’s already found suitable contract partner in Aisia of the high-ranking spirit beforehand, though he could use spirit arts without prior training, it’s a fact that Rio awakened his talent of spirit arts when he regained the memories of his previous life.
Though the reason why he couldn’t use spirit arts till he regained the memories of his previous life can’t be confirmed, perhaps Rio’s experience was the reason for Aisia and Haruto’s to awakening.
That aside, if the summoned learnt spirit arts straight away; half-year is the time that they most likely need no matter how much talent they have.
And maybe another half-year is needed to apply it in real combat.
In this world, the matter of handling spirit arts or magic is the sign of an absolutely strong person.
In short, the time till they learn how to use spirit arts or magic, Miharu’s group must live in this world till they can rise from their position as overwhelmingly weak people.
Though he definitely didn’t have any intention to make them kill anyone, someone might try to kill them.
If they leave to another place after this, there’s no guarantee that such a case won’t happen.
They won’t be able to protect themselves if at that time he’s not in that place to save them.
Rio didn’t want any of them to die in that way.
That’s why he taught swordsmanship to Masato, and pole art to Miharu and Aki.
“――Then, what are you teaching？This is just bullying a weak person！”
In this way, the face of the angry Aki and the crying expression of Miharu behind her were clinging into Rio’s brain.
If it will raise the probability their survival with this―― , He doesn’t care even if he hated.
Though he decided to steel his heart, he couldn’t help but be scared of being hated by them.
Teaching the art of murder only to Masato, and teaching nothing but the art of self-defense to Miharu, and Aki was Rio’s egoism.
He didn’t wish for Miharu or Aki to bear the mark of murder as much as possible.
As for Masato, without even doing an explanation to prepare him, he is going at him with enough killing intent.
Even if he explained this with words, they’re too spoiled, that’s why there’s no way he could properly explain about the severity of this world to them.
He wanted Masato to take the initiative of protecting Miharu and Aki in the worst case.
On the other hand, Rio chose to teach pole art to Aki and Miharu.
But, he didn’t have any intention of facing them with killing intent.
Certainly, even pole arts can be used to kill someone, if it’s just for killing, the spear arts are better.
Just in case, considering the possibilities that they might be returning to earth, he might be instinctively avoiding and didn’t wish for them to murder someone as much as possible.
Rio’s let out a self-mocking smile.
They definitely might want to go back to earth right away.
For them returning to earth rather than staying in this kind of world will definitely make their lives happier.
（And yet, I’m trying to restrain Mii-chan in this world to convey my feelings）
For this he became fed up with himself, and didn’t know how far it would go on.
Even now, he wanted to convey his feelings to Miharu, he didn’t want her to go back to earth.
Because that’s what he likes about her.
He didn’t want her to dirty her hands with blood no matter what.
Because the dirty job is his duty.
That was the type of egoism called compulsion.
Aisia voice suddenly resounded in Rio’s head.
Rio twitched as he reacted to her voice.
『Are you scared of conveying your feelings to Miharu？』
As if she somehow completely saw through Rio’s current feelings, Aisia asked about that point.
「I’m not scared. I’ll convey my feeling. But you know the timing is a bit hard for me due to various events」
Rio answered to not rushing in while showing a slightly wry smile.
『Then, is it because the thing that is scary for Haruto is that you’re different from your previous life？』
Rio’s eyes opened wide for those words hit his sore spot.
She saw through the deepest parts of him, even those that he hid deliberately.
「…… That’s right, maybe」
He nodded slowly after several seconds.
His other side which he didn’t want to show Miharu yet, the him who already killed a human, the him that will kill when the need has come, the him who’s burning for revenge――
What will Miharu think of me when she knows about that.
If it’s for his revenge, he’ll go no matter how deep the hell awaiting him and, though he already decided with a resolute heart, only that was what made him scared.
「But, I’ll convey my feelings」
Now his voice contained his resolution.
『Then, if Miharu said that she want to go back to earth, will you help her？』
Rio chest clamored again.
But, Rio shook off that emotion.
「I’ll help her」
And replied to her.
『Then, if Miharu loves another person, is it okay for you if she said that she wants to go back for that person？』
Aisia asked with an increasingly cold voice.
「I’ll hate that but….. I’ll accept it. If that’s related to the happiness of Mii-chan」
Rio answered while killing his emotions.
Though he noticed that his trembling was transmitted to Aisia inside his head, Rio ignored that.
Though it’s her usual emotionless voice, for Rio, somehow Aisia voice seemed to be crying.
But, Rio laughed softly with an expression as if he realized something.
So he muttered to her.