At my words, Nate frowns.
“So Who wants to be the challenger Rebecca Or,” I keep my eye fastened straight on his, “you, perhaps”
“You can’t be serious.”
“But I am.
As I say this I unwind the ribbon that was coiled around my wrist and swipe my hair back from my face in a high, tight ponytail.
Not just Nate, even Rebecca is staring at me rather dubiously.
“Oh, I’m so scared.
She’s tying her hair back, I guess that means she’s gonna go all out now,” Nate sneers.
“Whether I go all out or not has yet to be determined.”
I get right up in his face as I say this, grinning challengingly up at him.
Nate doesn’t back down.
He just silently glares down at me.
Tension permeates the air.
I can almost hear it as the onlookers all hold their breaths, eagerly awaiting Nate’s answer.
….I was right.
He really must be their leader of sorts.
You try her,” Nate quietly commands without turning his head.
His eyes don’t leave mine.
“Got it,” replies a huge, round, boulder of a man stepping out from within the crowd a short distance away.
I wonder just how many times larger is he than me As I size him up, I notice his short cropped hair and the evil look in his eyes….
what is up with this village There are so many people with my ideal sort of villainous appeal.
I observe him as he lumbers forward, trying to grasp the rhythm of his movements.
But he’s all too easy to understand.
…..His arms may contain a formidable amount of muscle, but his movements are slow as if he’s wading through molasses.
As he approaches I hear the heavy sound of his breathing and see a deep crevice carved out between his brows.
In one of his beefy hands he lugs around a huge, spiked iron club.
He seems almost like an ogre or an orc.
From the way he holds his club, I can see he’s left handed.
He also stepped out with his right foot first, and seems to be dragging his left foot slightly as he walks.
Rather than his ankle, I’d say his knee is probably hurting….
I wonder if he injured it
This guy will be your opponent,” Nate says offhandedly, drawing his sword out from its spot at his waist.
I accept the sword wordlessly and carefully inspect it.
…..Since this is their leader’s sword, it’s likely the best one in the village I would think.
The blade is rusty, chipped, and has been dulled through many years of use.
It’s a good thing I didn’t bring my own sword with me today.
The difference between the quality of our weapons is way too substantial.
“Poor condition, isn’t it” Nate says as if he could tell exactly what I was thinking.
“It’s probably nothing but scrap metal compared to the swords that you nobles are used to using,” he continues in a self-deprecating tone.
It’s pretty awful.”
“Hey! You b*stard! Don’t get so full of yourself just cause you’re a noble!” rumbles Tyrone from his spot next to Nate.
Wow, he’s quite intimidating.
With that body, that voice, and that face as well….
he creates such a lovely image of a scoundrel.
With a slight appreciative smile on my face I look over at Tyrone.
“I feel that honesty is usually the best policy.”
Lookin’ down on our commander’s sword, you are….
I’ll f*cking kill you!” Tyrone bellows, glaring at me.
…..So Nate’s their commander Since when did this village even have any troops
“Tyrone, don’t kill her.
Stop just before that,” Nate says calmly.
…..This sword may look dull and like it could snap any second, but it’s plenty good enough for me to fight this oaf with.
An expert doesn’t blame their lack of good tools.
Rather, in the right hands, even scrap metal becomes deadly.
Rebecca frowns, looking at me with worry plain in her eyes….
A pretty normal response.
Who would expect a sheltered young noblewoman to have taken up swordsmanship lessons Everyone here must think me a conceited fool.
Only Gilles is watching the situation with clear amusement.
“Ready when you are,” I throw out casually, gripping the sword and dropping into a ready fighting stance, the point of my blade aimed right between his eyes.
The air between us becomes strained, coiling, like it’s bracing for a battle.
Sensing my bloodlust, Tyrone readies his iron club, lifting it easily with one hand and squaring up in my direction.
His eyes contain a crushing pressure, as if he’d love nothing else than to squash me like a bug….
Does he hate that I insulted his commander’s sword that much
The onlooker’s chattering voices fall silent, replaced by the low thrum of the tension continuing to rise between us.
“After you, Princess,” Tyrone says with mock chivalry.
He smiles slowly, widely, revealing his slightly blackened teeth.
He’s really looking down on me, isn’t he
I chuckle to myself.
I wonder if this will even take a minute
Seeing as Nate’s their commander, he should have at least a fractional level of intelligence.
He’ll be aiming to gauge my abilities with this fight, so he wouldn’t have sent out his strongest man.
Probably someone of the lower-middle level of skill, I would think.
Not to mention, Tyrone is clearly underestimating me, believing I’m nothing but a spoiled little girl.
He’s bound to be careless….
I’ll make sure to end this well within 60 seconds.
“As you wish.
I’ll happily accept your kind offer.”
Before the echoes of my words have ceased, I’m springing forward.
I circle around him before he can react and send a kick with my full strength straight into the back of his left knee.
Tyrone lets out a strangled groan and his knees thud splendidly down onto the hard ground in front of him.
So slow! Even his eyes move at a snail’s pace….
if it’s like this, then I won’t even need a sword to win.
I send one more front kick straight into his spine for good measure and then bring the point of my sword to rest at the base of Tyrone’s neck drawing a tiny, minuscule speck of blood.
……This was just too easy.
Forget a minute, it didn’t even last a full moment.
What’s the use of all that muscle
Although I easily won, through this fight I still realized, not for the first time, that depth perception and grasping another person’s movements is a lot harder with one eye.
Things turned out alright since my opponent was laughably slow this time, but if I had been facing Nate instead, it would have been a different story.
In a close battle, a single second can be the difference between life and death.
Speaking of a single second, I’ve already won this fight, so why is it still so quiet I wasn’t expecting it or anything, but it wouldn’t have been all that bad if people cheered or congratulated me or something….
I turn my head left and right, glancing around at all the people in the crowd.
Everyone’s eyes are practically popping out, their mouths wide open as they stare at me….
well, everyone except Gilles of course.
He’s looking at me as well, but he’s got a happy grin on his face.
I can’t really be happy when everyone is this surprised at my victory.
They’re incredulity really dampens the feeling of triumph.
who would get excited over such an easy fight Honestly, I wish I could have fought a stronger opponent.
“Amazing…..” Rebecca murmurs, her voice seeming to get caught in her throat.
…..It really wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.
There’s plenty people stronger than me out there in this wide world.
maybe she thought it was amazing for a one-eyed swordswoman.
As someone who practices her swordplay every single day without rest, if I was still weak, there’d be no meaning in toiling for so long.
So, from my point of view, this level of skill isn’t something to praise, it’s only natural.
“Why did you go for his left knee first” Nate asks me curiously, closely examining my face.
“He was limping.” I shrug.
“That’s it You saw him limp a bit” Nate answers immediately.
True, most people likely wouldn’t have noticed him dragging that leg that tiny, little bit.
But, I saw it and that was good enough reason for me.
….Though, if I had to give one more reason…..
“That, and it sounded slightly different.
The moment from when his left foot touched the ground to when he picked it up again sounded different than his right.”
Nate’s eyes widen.
I can clearly see his yellow irises.
This is the listening technique that I taught myself while I was shut up in the little cabin.
Since I couldn’t leave the cabin, I had to develop my sense of hearing so that I could obtain information from the servants as they worked outside.
Thanks to that, my hearing has become much more acute, though it’s still not nearly on the level of Uncle Will’s…..
“Might you be my next opponent” I ask Nate, tilting my head a bit to the side and smiling sweetly at him.