Normally, there wouldn’t be a need to call out, but Tomoe felt that they needed to match the timing.
The shikioni struck out with its fist and the boy swung down with his great sword.
In an instant, the weight of the two forces threatened to expel the other, but the air was the first to be expelled, resulting in a powerful explosion.
Shockwaves spread out everywhere and an explosive sound akin to that of an artillery reached Tomoe and Ryou.
Then came the sound of something shattering, and in the end, the only thing left was
“It survived? Woah, you did it, Tomoe! It didn’t break in one attack!”
That was certainly a strange way to be happy, but it made sense when one considered who she was fighting.
Seeing the great sword of rock gone and the shikioni perfectly safe, Ryou turned to Tomoe with enthusiasm, but the only expression he saw on her was that of bitterness.
She was clenching her teeth as though trying to endure something.
“You’re wrong, it didn’t survive,” she said.
“Huh, ah!?” Ryou said.
And as though that frustrated voice was some kind of signal, the shikioni suddenly popped then dispersed.
Unable to maintain materialization, the scattered fragments reverted into spiritual power and vanished into the air.
“Anyhow, I got pretty close. The structure of the shiki was just a little lacking, but either way, that makes it a draw since I destroyed his weapon too.”
“No, that’s wrong.”
Tomoe wanted to console herself by saying that she at least accomplished that much, but Ryou corrected her.
He was understandably apologetic to have to do so, but it was still much better than having Shinichi be the one to point it out.
“The sword started cracking before it even hit the fist, so it’s just the usual. You know, when his weapon breaks because it can’t endure anymore.”
“Wait… Then that just means I straight up lost!”
Tomoe said as she hung her head, greatly perplexed.
The weapons Shinichi makes weren’t able to endure his own strength.
A few uses in and they would always end up breaking; a sight they’ve seen many times during their training these past few days.
“…You two really are opposites, aren’t you? Though I don’t know if I should praise you for that or be astounded.”
While Ryou was wryly smiling and Tomoe was despondent, Shinichi came back and said that.
Tomoe knew that her shikioni had failed because of her connection to it as the conjurer and her insight in jutsus, while Ryou could tell that the great sword was already broken despite how far away it was from him and how fast it struck out.
But the fact that they could only see through one aspect of the battle left Shinichi at a loss on whether they should be praised or not.
“Shut up, that sword of yours is so confusing!” Tomoe said.
“Yeah, I told you I’d lend you my great sword so many times too,” Ryou said.
As one might expect, Ryou and Tomoe found the idea of a weapon that couldn’t last past one night of training to be problematic and argued against it.
Garesto’s weapons were durable, so they argued that he should just those, but…
“Don’t be stupid. Garesto’s weapons might be fine after one or two uses, but after a dozen times even they will begin to wear out. Should they break in the middle of a battle, the consequences will be unimaginable.”
The way Shinichi saw it, borrowing another person’s weapon – no matter how durable – would only put the owner at risk.
Now he would happily accept it if they were to give him a weapon, but he didn’t want to do anything with borrowed weapons.
“Hey, this guy is seriously saying that Garesto’s weapon will break after a dozen uses.”
But while Ryou could understand the ‘logic’ behind that decision, it still left him chuckling.
The thought of one of Garesto’s weapons breaking because of the user was just too ridiculous to believe, but it was also true that Shinichi was way above spec, so there was some sense to it.
“…So he’s being considerate in that regard too, huh…”
Meanwhile, an indescribable expression surfaced on Tomoe when she heard Shinichi’s answer.
Refusing to borrow a weapon so as to not break it. That would be a normal sentiment if not for the fact that these were Garesto’s weapons being talked about.
Regardless, the underlying reason that led Shinichi to make that decision was to avoid putting Ryou at risk.
But at the same time, he didn’t consider the risk that he put himself in by frequently using a weapon that could break at any time.
Of course, Tomoe knew that he could just dodge if his weapon were to break, but Tomoe wasn’t satisfied with that reasoning.
“In the first place, I could just make more whenever they break.”
It was curious how the wry smile and unhappy expression of the two reflected on Shinichi, but regardless, he suddenly raised his hand and summoned more of the same great swords from the land.
Not one, not two, but thirteen great swords all in all.
As weapons born from the land, they could rise time and time again so long as the land remained.
Neither Ryou nor Tomoe understood the technology or power that made such a thing possible, but as people privy to the existence of spiritual power, the feat itself didn’t surprise them; however, the thought of having to train until all those swords broke, gave Ryou the chills.
Shinichi could see that fear written on his face, so he laughed and shook his head.
“Ku ku, don’t worry. I just wanted to tell you that I can as many of these as I want.”
As Shinichi said that, he snapped his fingers, and the great swords returned to the ground.
Ryou immediately patting his chest in relief showed that he was an honest man easy to understand, so Shinichi looked at him in a favorable light.
It was precisely because he had a personality like that that he could easily absorb Shinichi’s guidance.
Shinichi might have teased him with his mother earlier, but he wasn’t lying when he praised his character.
“Besides, we’ve already used up all the time we have today.”
At this rate, they would affect their classes tomorrow.
Shinichi might be strict, but there was no need to rush their training to the point of actually harming their bodies.
Shinichi had them continue their lessons partly to keep their relationship a secret, but it was also because he didn’t want them to neglect their duties as a student.
“Yep, it’s over!”
When they were told that the session would end in a shorter time than usual, both Ryou and Tomoe inadvertently expressed their joy with their whole body.
While they might have been the ones to ask him to train them, it was natural for humans to want an easier time when they were going through such intense training every night.
“By the way, you two are sure that you’re childhood friends and not siblings, right?”
They resembled each other so closely that Shinichi couldn’t help but ask that half-seriously.
“Give me a break! If I had a little brother like him I’ll never be able to rest a day in my life!”
“Please! If I had an older sister like her, my life would be over!”
They were so similar even in their response that Shinichi broke into a smile.
Though they may not be related by blood, there was no doubt that they were a pair of siblings in the sense that grew up in the same environment.
Of course, the people in question would never accept that.
“Alright, I got it. I’ll take back everything I said about being siblings, but do remember that your training isn’t even halfway over, so don’t be happy just yet.”
But that was that and this was this. When he told them that he couldn’t be negligent of that as their instructor, the two honest disciples that could normally be objective with themselves groaned.
“Tomoe, your comprehension and application of jutsus is wonderful, but the composition of your jutsus is still somewhat lacking. Though you’re still better off than those from the main family, you need to work on making your jutsus more durable.”
“Shinguuji, you learn fast, but you have a tendency to lose track of everything around you when you focus on one thing. I’m sure you know this already, but you can’t get to the next level without fixing that problem first.”
As soon as Shinichi started talking about those things with them, Tomoe and Ryou dropped their shoulders.
When Shinichi saw that, he thought to himself, ‘they really are siblings, aren’t they?’ But he didn’t say it out loud and instead just told them again that they were dismissed for the day.
“But of course, these aren’t problems that can be fixed by talking about them. You’re dismissed for the day, go back and sleep. We’ll go through this again tomorrow.”
But just as he was about to prepare to leave, Tomoe called out to him.
“Ah, right, I wanted to ask you about that.”
“Hmm? About what?”
“Where will we be training from tomorrow onward? I’m sure you must have something in mind, so can you tell us already?”
“Right, we’ll be leaving Kutoria, so we can’t use the fields. Ah, I guess you can just teleport, but that’s a bit…”
“Yeah, I think it’ll kind of ruin the atmosphere in of way.”
Shinichi’s two disciples nodded like that, but he had no idea what they were talking about.
“…Do you two have some kind of errand from tomorrow onward? You need to tell me that sort of stuff ahead of time, you know.”
Evidently, he was reading this situation wrong.
They weren’t on the same page, but he couldn’t figure out why.
The only thing he could understand was that for some reason they won’t be in Kutoria starting tomorrow.
“D-Don’t tell me, Shinichi… You don’t know what’s happening starting tomorrow?” Tomoe asked.
“…That looks to be the case,” Shinichi said.
“Looks to be!? Didn’t the academy contact you!? How does the guy with enough information power to threaten the whole world not know something so simple!?” Ryou said.
His two disciples looked at him as though he must’ve been joking, but Shinichi just remained calm.
In the end, it appears that Shinichi had once again made light of some sort of present day common sense or some school rule, so he shrugged his shoulders apathetically.
“If they did contact me, I might have ended up skimming through it… I’ve always been careless like that. My antenna just doesn’t quite work when it comes to things I’m not interested in.”
“…So, in other words, you messed up.”
“Yep, in fact, it’s kind of common for the members of my family.”
“What kind of family is that?”
“I know right.”
Ryou was astounded and Shinichi nodded, but Tomoe’s face was taut.
Because the way Shinichi spoke was all too similar to a certain someone she spoke with just recently.
Not to mention that the topic was the perfect fuel for Tomoe’s
Shinichi noticed the odd look she was giving him, but he didn’t understand the reason behind it, and while it certainly made him suspicious, he didn’t pursue the matter and just asked about the topic at hand.
“So, what is happening tomorrow?”
The one who answered was Tomoe, who, oddly enough, seemed to recover herself with that question.
She shook her head once, and as she switched gears, she explained to him calmly – about that matter that
“…The notification was four days ago. It’s usually not held this time of the year, but… From tomorrow onward, all students will───”
“─────be going on a field trip.”