For hunting beasts, spears are good. Their long handles lets you strike things as they run away.
For killing enemies, axes are good. Their heavy blades cut and sever through strong armor.
But what they selected was neither of those—
Violet is an elven warrior whose name comes from the vibrant violet-colored flowered that bloom along with the thorns she uses to fight. I’d first met her as an opponent in a duel with her working as Eldest’s guard, but nowadays we occasionally meet each other as good friends.
“She’s had a lot of spare time recently. It’s your fault.”
Ultramarine started speaking when Pea Green parted ways with us along the way.
“Lizardmen, giants, everyone’s been quiet. Violet’s job was to glare the lot of them away, but they’ve been docile the past hundred years so she’s had nothing to do.”
“Well… peace is a good thing.”
Lizardmen and giants are both extremely warlike races and would come to attack without any particular reason to spur the assault.
They’d come to attack Scarlet multiple times as well, but Nina and I managed to fight them back, finally managing to negotiate with them through extreme patience and perseverance.
“Peace, huh… so you’re still talking about stuff you don’t understand. Ah, here’s Violet.”
Before I had a chance to ask about what it was I didn’t understand, Ultramarine waved her hand.
“I will listen to your story. Come.”
Violet spoke, showing me into her home. She guided me into a cave made in a huge tree. Elves could know what’s generally going on within the forest by listening to the murmuring of the trees. It appeared as though she already knew what we came to say.
“I take it you wish for me to teach you how to handle a sword?”
Seeing Violet cut to the chase, I began with what I came up with when I was listening to Ultramarine earlier.
“If you are fine with it, would you, Violet, come to our village yourself?”
Violet blinked her eyes in surprise. She probably didn’t think I would make an offer like that.
“Yes. I believe that with both you and Nina, we could not only have you teach the art of using the sword, but magic as well.”
Even if we could slice through flesh as cleanly as Pea Green, I have no intention of putting together a ranch like that in Scarlet.
So although we have to figure out another way to raise animals in a way that suit our needs, our current situation puts us at a lack of capable hands.
Anyhow, the village has a lot of children. A single person should teach several dozen at most, yet just Nina and I have been the only two teaching the hundreds of children in the village. We do teach on separate days and times, but we haven’t had much time, not even for research.
I’ve consulted Nina about how we need to acquire more teachers to prepare for the ever-increasing number of children several times. For that need, Violet is a great candidate.
“… I do have an interest in your school, Mentor.”
After taking a moment to think, Violet responded.
“However, I am the guardian of this forest. I cannot leave it out of interest alone.”
“Sure, but didn’t you lose to Bearmonkey?”
Ultramarine joined the conversation to point that out, but Violet only nodded, unphased.
“Yes. I could get permission if it were in order to acquire that strength. However, it has been several centuries since then. I am aware that human lifespans are short. That child is no longer alive, is he?”
Holding on to the stone ornament hanging from around my neck, I nodded. Even now, every time I think back on those days, I feel like I might burst into tears.
“Don’t you have a ton of free time anyway?”
“That is not the problem.”
Violet shook her head in response to Ultramarine’s question.
“You could have Ultramarine go with you.”
“I really don’t want to though?”
Even though Ultramarine was encouraging Violet to do it, once the subject changed over to her she denied it as though that was the obvious answer. Well, that’s just the kind of girl she is. I can’t see her being a teacher, anyway… Come to think of it, I haven’t even seen Ultramarine use magic yet, have I?
“I would not mind teaching you how to use the sword if you came over here, though.”
“Thank you. I’ll take you up on your offer if I get the chance.
I stood up from my seat and bowed to her. That said, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever have the need. At least for me, I’d be better off on the battlefield in dragon form using tooth and claw rather than relying on a sword to fight.
“I don’t get it, all the way…”
The moment I started out to head back, Yuuki spoke up.
“But if I’m stronger than you, Violet, you’ll be a teacher?”
“… I am well aware that Mentor is strong. I very likely would not be a match for him in his original form… however.”
Violet displayed her ability and thorns grew from her hand, forming into a sword.
“This strength is a power I was born with. Being a dragon is an even greater strength. That is not what I desire. Using the sword is a skill, something that is refined and polished after one is born. That is what I pursue, child.”
Darg was also someone born strong. However, the reason for him being victorious over Violet was due to him learning magic from me. He would have been defeated if the challenge had come before he’d met me.
Yuuki drew the sword sheathed at her waist. What was contained within that wolflion leather scabbard was a blade made out of wood with a piece of stone cut to act as its edge. Not a spear, nor an axe, but a sword. Her family was the foundation that we called the Sword Clan.
“When I win, you’ll come?”
Violet’s eyes narrowed in response to Yuuki’s phrasing. Her smile visibly disappearing, she looked Yuuki up and down.
In terms of height, Yuuki only made it to Violet’s chest. Seeing that Yuuki was clearly still a child, Violet turned to look at me as though to infer my thoughts.
I wonder if Nina predicted this happening? I was originally going to head to the forest alone, but she’d told me to bring Yuuki along. She might have figured that there was no other way.
“Try to not get hurt.”
I spoke to the two of them.
“Yuuki is strong.”
＊ ＊ ＊
They each took a stance and faced one another, their swords held aloft. Violet held a shield made from thorns weaved together along with her small, sharp stalk formed into a sword. Yuuki held her stone-inserted wooden sword one-handed. Their physiques and equipment were entirely different, but they nevertheless looked similar.
“Alright, make sure to stop once you believe the match is decided, immediately pulling your sword away. Especially you, Yuuki. Alright?”
Yuuki nodded cheerfully, but I was still a little worried. Even so, it’s impossible for me to stop them now that I’ve already acknowledged the match.
“Well then… begin!”
The first one to make a move following my signal was Violet. She shot out a thrust with lightning-like speed by extending her arm to an unbelievable length. Closing the distance Yuuki thought herself to be safe out in the blink of an eye, she aimed her attack at Yuuki’s hand.
“I am quick!”
In that instant, Yuuki’s body disappeared, leaving only her voice. However, Violet only lost track of her for a short moment, finding her once more within a tenth of a second. Within their forests, elves will never lose track of their opponents.
“I am solid!”
Yuuki parried an attack coming right at her with her empty hand. That attack, what could have blown a hole open in a thick tree, sounded like it was shoved aside by a boulder when it was deflected.
“I am strong!”
And with that, an accelerated slash swung straight for Violet’s throat. Violet quickly brought up her shield due to sheer instinct and was able to deflect it. The stone blade easily tore through her thorn shield, severing its upper half.
She appeared to have finally realized that this small girl was not an opponent she could let her guard down against. As though fully working together with Violet’s movements as she leapt backward, an armor of thorns began to cover her entire body.
But that was a poor move for her.
“You are slow!”
As soon as Yuuki shouted that out, Violet’s movements slowed noticeably.
“You are soft! You are weak!”
Violet seemed like she was going to try for another attack, but her legs lost their strength and her stance crumbled.
“Light! Be what seizes all and slices it apart!”
In that moment, Yuuki’s blade began to glow with what appeared to be flashes of lightning covering it.
As I shouted that out, Yuuki’s shining sword blade had cut Violet’s thorn blade in two, stopping just after breaking through her helmet.
… As harsh as ever. After reinforcing herself and weakening her opponent, she finally strengthened her weapon, making it so that her opponent would be unable to evade or block. Her attack had enough power to kill an armored bear in one stroke. It was a simple yet polished way of fighting that one wouldn’t believe a nine year old child was capable of.
“That… from just now, who do you learn how to do that from?”
A stunned look on her face, Violet asked Yuuki a question.
Hearing Yuuki’s response, Violet seemed to be taken by surprise. Although her small stature and cute features were entirely different, her red hair and eyes were just like his.
“And dad learned from grandpa. And grandpa from his dad. We’ve taught sword techniques forever and ever!”
Swordsaint, my final gift to Darg. To the best of my knowledge, it is the world’s first family name.
“But… your fighting style is entirely different from his.”
Violet’s voice was trembling.
It was as she said, Darg’s style was much more hearty and dynamic. Although the magic strengthening them was the same, how they wielded their swords and how they moved their bodies were entirely different.
“Yep. Our ancestor made the magic, but how we use our swords, well, it’s different.”
It wasn’t as though all of Darg’s descendants had the same excellent constitution as he did. So Darg smashed down his crag blade into a smaller stone blade and came up with a way to fight that worked with smaller, lighter swords.
“We mimic how that suuuuper strong person he met in the forest used her sword!”
She was referring to the story handed down through the Swordsaint clan, the story of his adventures with a dragon, an elf, and a girl.
“So Violet, I’m so so so happy I got to fight you!”
Her eyes brimming in delight, Yuuki spoke in glee.
“… I would like to see where the future of this child’s strength and of my sword leads.”
Wiping the corners of her eyes with her fingers, Violet’s attitude changed.
“Then that means…”
“Yes, please, I would love to be allowed into Mentor’s school… If Eldest permits it.”
The words she tacked on at the end made me groan. She wasn’t able to make her own decisions after all? I suppose I’ll have to get Eldest’s permission.”
Seeing my frown, Violet smiled to put me at ease.
“I am sure that he will not deny me—”
Giving us a meaningful smile, Yuuki and I tilted our heads to the side.