A Chat With Aidi
“You have a good sword arm, puppy.”
“… Thank you, very, much… haaah…!”
There was the sound of wooden swords striking each other. The source of this was a practice duel between Aidi and Meat.
One’s body would grow dull if it just stayed cooped up in a cave. With that reason in mind, the two of them were going through a practice duel with each other in an open meadow.
Rokuko and I were watching them from a little ways away. Ichika and Orange had joined us watching them, too.
“Maybe we could bet on which one’ll win…?”
“Ichika’s suggestion sounds fun, Kehma. I’ll… right~, I’ll bet three melon breads on Aidi!”
Although Rokuko said that, the bet itself was a failure. There’s no way anyone would bet on Meat given how the duel was progressing.
Meat was attacking Aidi quickly at first by using her incredible agility while Aidi herself used her wooden sword held with both hands to parry. Aidi’s own attacks increased over time, causing Meat to now have to try to block Aidi single-handed swings with her daggers.
So this was our best anti-personnel fighter, huh. Aidi was strong, sure, but—
“Aidi, how did you go about fighting in that previous Dungeon Battle again?”
“I bet he means yer [Style]. Like anti-personnel or anti-group, that sorta stuff. I mean, unlike us, it looks like ya know actual swordsmanship—and a style meant more for fightin’ one-on-one to boot.”
Ichika-sensei chimed in to explain~. Hmm hmm, to put it more simply, there’s a difference between those who learned swordplay in a more proper, classical sense and adventurers who didn’t.
“Hey, Aidi~. You learned that swordsmanship stuff?”
“Yeah. I’ve been trained in Demon King Sword Style, I’m an assistant instructor.”
Hearing Rokuko ask her a question mid-match, Aidi easily managed to respond while continuing to swing her sword. So there’s a Demon King Sword Style?
“What’s an assistant instructor~? Is it strong~? Is it great~?”
“It means I am at a level where I can train worms into louts.”
With that, Aidi adjusted to a double-handed grip and swung her sword down.
The wooden daggers Meat had been using were each knocked out of her hands by that strike. That was the match.
“Come now, grovel and lick my feet. Losers are at the winner’s mercy.”
With Aidi’s instigation, Meat glanced at me.
Her expression seemed to asked if it would be alright with me for her to lick her feet. She’d definitely acknowledged her loss… I stepped in to stop it.
“End it there, it was just a practice duel. You’d wear out people’s stomachs if you had everyone lick your feet every time.”
“Oh, Rokuko’s Master? How kind of you, I suppose you only allow this puppy to be a pet that can only play-bite? Or perhaps you intended to lick my feet in her stead?”
“It’s temping, but I couldn’t do that in front of Rokuko, so…”
“… Right, that isn’t something to do in front of my rival of all people. Pardon my habit.”
Aidi laughed with her hand covering her mouth, hiding her embarrassment.
I might’ve done it if Rokuko weren’t here to see. Ah, I’d have her take off her shoes first though.
“Aidi’s so strong. Oh, Kehma. I won the bet, so pay up the three melon breads! Muahaha!”
“No way that was a valid bet. I mean, I don’t really care if it’s just three melon breads, but still.”
I ignored Rokuko’s weird laugh and handed her three melon breads. They were Kinue-san’s specially-made melon breads I’d put into [Storage] to stay fresh.
“Thanks Kehma! Alright Aidi, I’ll give you one since you’re my friend. It’s my favorite bread. It’s so good, you know?”
“Oh, I’m glad… You didn’t poison it, right?”
“Why would I!? What’re you saying, no one should do that to their friends.”
“Really? Too bad, I could have declared war and had so much fun if you did… Oh well, it tastes great.”
Rokuko and Aidi took huge bites out of their melon breads. Yep, seeing them like that, I could only see them as everyday, ordinary friends… even though they’re basically princesses of opposing factions. Not like I’d ever say that out loud though.
“Jiji-sama would probably invade Rokuko’s dungeon if it meant he could eat some of this.”
“Huh? D-Definitely don’t give him any! This is a promise between friends, okay!?”
“Of course. This is my reward for winning my status as Rokuko’s Rival. Jiji-sama should go get something from Haku-sama if he wants…”
She took another large bite.
“… Yeah, so delicious.”
Please spare us from being attacked by the Great Demon King, there’s no way we’d make it out alive.
“Meat, how was she?”
“… Strong. I was serious… but I couldn’t land a hit… at all…”
“Oh? You have potential, puppy. Much better than those worms. However, Demon King Sword Style requires a body that doesn’t need to breathe, so you would only make it to assistant instructor at most. Too bad.”
A body that doesn’t need to breath…? Oh yeah, Dungeon Cores doesn’t need to, huh. Right, it was a style birthed by the Great Demon King.
“Hey, Rokuko. Why not learn Demon King Style? We could duel every day!”
“Umm, maybe I shouldn’t?”
“Or maybe Haku-san has some style you could use? If so, Rokuko should use that.”
“Come to think of it, the empire has that Imperial Sword Style, does it not…? A contest between styles, I’m looking forward to it.”
“No no no, my rapier is just decoration! There’s no way I could!!”
“… How else would you protect your Dungeon Core?”
Aidi inclined her head to the side. I thought she was just joking, but she seemed genuinely curious.
It was just another cultural difference… that said, Core No. 564 was part of that culture, too…
“Right, Core No. 564 is the same rank as me, assistant instructor. Isn’t it funny?”
Yeah, looks like I’ll be leaving the attack to Aidi after all. I didn’t want to haphazardly butt in.
Let’s think some more on how to defend when the time comes… there’s almost no chance he’d go for the same strategy as what Aidi used before, when she brought the Dungeon Core in with her to attack.
“… By the way, Aidi, how strong is your Master?”
“About the same as me… no, a bit stronger. But you know, he’s a human, so he’s stuck as an assistant instructor… Also, don’t count him in for this Dungeon Battle, he’s being trained by Jiji-sama for the fighting competition right now.”
In other words, he was being trained by Core No. 6, the founder of Demon King Sword Style… still though, he’s stronger than Aidi, who’s even stronger than Meat?
I guess Demon King Faction Masters are battle junkies like their Cores… they probably wouldn’t last long otherwise, huh. Still though, written as [Fighting Competition], read as [Dance Party]. What.
Oh yeah, I’ll have to send out another attack for the adventurers in the rabbit dungeon to deal with. How about we try using some gargoyles this time?