“So it really was a projected decoy… I should have realized my vision was also obstructed!”
The woman’s expression twisted in frustration. There was even a hint of anger in her eyes.
Anger not because she lost, but because she lost to such an elementary trick. It was anger toward herself.
With this their score was 18-0. That was the result of all their spars until now.
The spar between the infamous transfer student and the school’s strongest practical skill teacher.
As for who that score was favoring, the result just now should have made it clear.
Ever since that day, Nakamura Shinichi and Frire Doneju have been sparring here with different rules every morning.
Today’s rules were to use a blade and to use skills via voice activation.
They were also to stay within a 100 meter radius from their starting point.
As for why these two were doing this, it’s because of a deal they struck.
Shinichi had chosen her to protect his secrets.
She was suitable since she was the strongest person in the academy, and with that came authority, position, and trust.
What’s more is that he could easily give her what she wanted the most.
In other words, he accepted that fight she wanted so badly.
Of course, they had to decide on several conditions.
1.) She was to keep their deal a secret, and she was to do her best to keep it that way.
2.) Any information gained from fighting Shinichi isn’t to be leaked.
3.) She is free to point out any oddities she notices about Shinichi, but she isn’t allowed to ask him for an explanation.
4.) When alone together they don’t have to maintain propriety in their words.
5.) Exoskeletons are prohibited. Other weapons and skills that could leave vast traces of fighting are also prohibited.
6.) She is to support Shinichi’s student life as long as it won’t cause her problems. Presently, this so-called support is for her to keep Shinichi from standing out any more than he is currently. To that end, she could lower Shinichi’s grades and position, and even treat him worse.
7.) For every battle, she is to answer Shinichi’s questions provided that she knows the answer and believes telling him won’t be a problem. Asking Shinichi why he is asking the question is prohibited. Telling others about his questions is also prohibited.
8.) So long as she keeps this rules, Shinichi will grant Frire’s requests to spar as much as he can.
Frire did have her doubts about the conditions, but she still accepted in the end.
After all, while they were very suspicious, they were still things that she could fulfill.
That was how starved she was for a good battle.
As for Shinichi, someone he could cooperate with without giving away too much information was just too precious to give up.
Besides, he could get her cooperation just by satisfying her urges, so it was a good deal all things considered.
Also he hasn’t told her any secrets that reeked of confidentiality, so it wouldn’t be a problem even if their deal went awry.
It has already been a little over half a month since they struck their deal and have been fighting basically every morning.
On the calendar, May was already almost over and June was fast approaching.
The reason they chose this place for their spars was because Frire was someone who could enter here without needing permission.
It was also a completely isolated location as long as no one was using the area.
As for the time, it just so happened that this was when they were both free.
“Puha, seriously… Your imagination is just so impressive every time.”
Frire took off the upper garment of her jersey and stuck her head into the lake to wipe away her sweat a little.
This assistant teacher of 1-D may have been putting on a display of being a good sport, but there was no doubting that she was giving Shinichi the eye. He didn’t even sweat.
“Really? I think this much is a given, though.”
Shinichi sat himself on a large stone and said that with a cool expression.
He believed that anyone would arrive to the same conclusions he did if they just considered the various traits of each skill.
Frire sighed and vigorously pointed out that he was wrong.
“Wind Shell, which makes it hard to see inside, and Decoy, which can’t be used right in front of one’s foe. When put that way, it does sound like a great combination. The more familiar one is with the skills, the more likely they are to fall into the trap.”
Decoy is a Support Class skill meant to deceive one’s foe.
The resolution displayed by the fosters are usually lowered for everyday use.
One downside to such overly sophisticated technology is that even the images displayed by them could be mistaken to be real.
Decoy is a skill that takes advantage of that to create a realistic image that one can’t distinguish from reality even up close.
A decoy to retreat. A decoy to spur chaos in the battlefield. It’s a skill often used to befuddle one’s foes and make them think one has more numbers than one really has.
But of course, there’s not much point in using it right in front of said foe.
Compensating for that flaw by obstructing Frire’s vision first could only be described as a spectacular move.
“But Garesto’s battlefields presume the usage of exoskeletons. Even if you can think of it, there aren’t many opportunities to use it. And even in a one on one duel, it’s a trap that could only be used once. It doesn’t suit Garesto.”
“Well, yeah, but… Ah, I get it. Garesto’s equipments are so good that they don’t get much casualties, so this style of fighting isn’t very popular.”
All the more so if they expect all their fights to have an exoskeleton since those things are packed with systems to protect its pilots.
Of course, people wearing them will still die if they fight, but the number of casualties would be greatly decreased.
In that regard, the common sense of this world probably couldn’t compare.
“…As sharp as ever, I see. It’s almost scary. Right now there aren’t any wars between fellow humans, and most enemies are either terrorists or raybeasts, but in the past, it wasn’t so strange for enemies to meet several times on the battlefield.”
Terrorists are one thing, but against raybeasts, such outlandish schemes don’t really mean much. And one also doesn’t happen into terrorists often, if at all.
As such, it doesn’t really make sense to spend so much time thinking up such a method just to fool a rare foe. Not to mention, said method could only be used once.
If one had so much free time, it would be better to use that time to train oneself and become better at using powerful weaponry instead.
“It’s better to improve on one’s foundations instead of pondering on such weird skills, huh. Well, that makes sense. It’s impossible for a talentless fool like me, though.”
“Talentless? You? So what does that make me who lost to that talentless fool?”
Shinichi really believed that he had no talent, and it was also the truth, but to Frire, who has lost to him time and time again, that offhand remark was offensive.
When Shinichi saw her pout and sulk, he wryly smiled.
“It’s the truth, though. I’m only able to win because of my weird plans and skills.”
“Weird plan and skills, huh. Immediately after the cultural exchange started, there were many martial artists who said they could bridge the gap between lower and higher Status if they just used those, but in the end, they were all defeated.”
She didn’t fight them herself, but that’s what she’s been told.
Because of that Shinichi’s words just sounded like an excuse to her.
But Shinichi continued as if to say that wasn’t the case at all.
“That’s because they haven’t laid down the groundwork to fight with you guys. They were too weak, so there wasn’t any point to their techniques and strategies. In the first place, ‘techniques’ can only bridge a gap of at most one or two levels above one’s own strength.”
Beyond that, and techniques won’t work anymore.
Shinichi nonchalantly taught her about that piece of common sense without any haughtiness.
To him techniques were things that could only apply to those ruled by the same rules.
For example, no matter how accomplished a martial artist one might be, his techniques couldn’t possibly be applicable to elephants or whales.
And martial arts are techniques developed with a human opponent in mind.
The gap between humans strengthened by Status and those not strengthened by it is simply too big.
“I-I see… So the reason you’re able to come up with so many ideas is because your world doesn’t assign roles to its people, whereas in Garesto the people without any talent or ability for combat don’t need to fight at all.”
Frire nodded as she realized that that difference was what led to the difference in their thinking.
With this it became vague who the teacher was between them, but Shinichi’s mind was occupied by something else.
He’s been racking his head all this time, wondering if he should point it out or keep mum, but in the end, he did his usual.
“What? Ah, sorry. I ended up asking you about all sorts of stuff. It’s almost about time for your—”
“—If you expose yourself any further, I won’t be able to hold myself back anymore.”
Shinichi said with a huge grin on his face that gave her a feeling of deja vu.
Shinichi realized that she didn’t understand, so he pointed toward her face, and then down a little lower.
Frire’s gaze followed along and that naturally obstructed her vision.
“You looked so slender in clothing, I didn’t think you’d be packing so much. You’re actually one cup bigger than I expected. A G-cup, that’s amazing!”
After Frire had taken off her upper garment, all that was left was her tight sports bra.
It wasn’t intentional, but due to her flushed and glossy skin from the spar and her sweat, she looked captivating.
When Shinichi pointed that out with that familiar smile and gaze of his, she blushed beet red, and she tried to cover her chest with her arms while turning away from Shinichi.
“W-Where do you think you’re looking while a person is talking so seriously!?”
Normally, she wouldn’t be so embarrassed from revealing just this much skin.
After all, she was neither naked nor in her underwear, and Shinichi wasn’t really her student anyway.
He also never eyed her with lust, so she was often at ease around him.
In fact, even now there wasn’t any lust in his eyes.
But for some reason, him pointing it out so bluntly like that made her blush red in shame.
“Fu fu, don’t be complaining now. The one who exposed herself was you, after all. Moreover, what was exposed was something so wonderful it’s basically poison for a young man’s eyes.”
Shinichi had a huge grin on his face as he continued to tease her.
But there was some truth to his words, so she couldn’t refute either.
“What’s more is there’s no one else here right now. It’s just us two, a boy and a girl, alone together, somewhat tired. I’m glad you trust me so much, but you shouldn’t leave yourself so defenseless, okay, Sensei?”
Shinichi broadly grinned and told her that like a teacher teaching a student.
With this their respective positions were a complete mess, and Frire’s face burned even deeper with red from frustration and embarrassment.
“I see. So you’re the type who normally doesn’t mind but gets flustered as soon as it’s pointed out. Oh heavens, just how meaningful would it be to touch— Whoops.”
As Shinichi continued to happily watch her, his head suddenly shifted to the side. In the next moment…
“W-What is it!?”
A pillar of water shot up 2 meters high from the water near the shore.
It lasted only for a moment before the water went back to normal, but that was enough to show that something had fallen there.
“…I feel like it flew from your direction though?” Frire asked.
“Ku ku ku, to think that you’d be the one to explode first. Looks like I went a bit too far,” Shinichi remarked.
Shinichi sounded like he was reflecting on his actions, but his stifled laughter proved he didn’t mean what he said.
While Frire was confused by the sudden turn of events, Shinichi grinned and made a V-sign toward a different direction.
“Is it really okay to reveal yourself like that!?” (Someone’s soul cried)
A certain fox’s surveillance has been seen through completely.
Shinichi was actually messing with the both of them.