That’s why Tomoe found herself choking, unable to say anything.
Her eyes were opened wide in shock, trembling, while her face paled for a different reason than earlier.
There was no other method than that, no other choice than to ask him to do it, but Tomoe didn’t want to make a request like that to him.
Because she knew that asking him to hurt another person was crueler than asking anyone else.
She was on the verge of crying, but the mask just said, “Perhaps, there’s such as thing as too good of an intuition,” and smiled, though his gaze said otherwise.
His eyes seemed to be hurrying her to speak, so she bit her lips and nodded.
Having drawn this out for this long, the one thing they couldn’t afford to mess up was their priority.
That demon sword mustn’t be released into the world no matter what.
“I, Tomoe Safina, request that you cut down that man’s arm with Kamunagi,” Tomoe said.
“Darn it!” Ryou said.
She tried to keep her voice from shaking as much as she could while making that request.
She asked him to cut Michizane’s arm in her name and to use her beloved katana. That must have been her way of apologizing.
At the same time, Ryou too cursed in frustration because of how weak he was.
Amidst all that, Tomoe also uttered a quiet apology.
Perhaps it was meant for their continuous blunder, or because she’d pushed something like this onto him, or perhaps, both.
Regardless, she made an undignified face akin to a child being scolded by her parents.
It was curious how the mask took that, but a deep sigh left his lips.
And Ryou and Tomoe’s face stiffened.
Was this not the kind of air he exuded just before pointing out someone’s mistake?
Perhaps Tomoe and Ryou realized that that they started sweating for no good reason.
『Wrong, you stupid disciples… I’ve given you so many hints too, how pathetic.』
“W-Where was the hint!?”
They’d made their resolve despite their guilt and dejection, but their answer was still wrong because they’d misunderstood.
Perhaps the Mask found that amusing, for his next words carried with them an amused tone.
『I’ll give you a passing mark for making your resolve despite looking like you’re about to cry.』
They knew they’d mess up yet still understood that they had to ask someone else to clean up their mess.
Though that filled them with pain and regret, they didn’t run away and was willing to ask him for help. In that regard, they were definitely praiseworthy.
But of course, Tomoe and Ryou vehemently protested against having made such a face.
『Ku ku, well, let’s leave it at that.』
The mask chuckled then turned around to look at Michizane, as though to say that he would show them the right answer,
As he walked away, he completely ignored their ranting and raving.
“…You’re not going to scold us?”
That was a bit anti-climatic for them since they were so sure that he would blame them more.
The training tomorrow morning was surely going to be tough, but they found it strange how he didn’t point out what they’d done wrong.
『Since you can make a face like that, you can understand even without me pointing it out. What’s the point in me pointing every little thing out like an in-law? But if you really want me to give a few words, then───』
The mask looked over its shoulder and calmly spoke.
『───You haven’t forgotten that I’m your master, have you?』
Those words came out of nowhere, causing Ryou and Tomoe to make a doubtful face, but the Mask just laughed and continued.
『While it would be problematic if you relied on me too much, you are my disciple, so at least rely on me. It would be problematic otherwise.』
The mask laughed, as though he would be unfit to be their master otherwise, while the two just found themselves blinking.
Was that because of the choice that was so out of this world that it was enlightening? Or was that because of the fear of having to think about using even the Mask?
Surely, it was both. The mask’s cheeks slackened as he noted their stunned expressions.
『Well, failure is experience too. There’s thoughtless, then there’s overthinking. It’s best to learn by watching the line between the two. I can still support you guys, so fail as much as you want.』
“That’s true, but… The hurdle is too high,” Ryou said.
“…Is it really okay?” Tomoe said.
Ryou found it much scarier to rely on the mask than to face adversity, while Tomoe was hesitant to rely on him too much.
But the Mask just laughed without a care for that.
『That’s the sort of relationship a master and a disciple has. Don’t worry about it. In the first place,
And then, he turned his attention and voice to Michizane.
『Person who failed to become a tragedy.』
Countless demonic blades continued to shoot out for the Mask, but they all scattered in vain, and he walked, seemingly unconcerned.
“D-Damn it! W-What is it with you!?”
『Can we put an end to this meaningless resistance already?』
But that was only because he’d finished his business with his disciples.
He still had no intentions of having a proper conversation with Michizane.
His voice was cold, and it sounded as though he couldn’t wait to get this over with.
Michizane raved as he – continued – to swing his sword.
“Who do you think I am!? Don’t mock me!!”
『Even if you can’t get any results, it’s still a pain in the ass.』
The Mask didn’t respond to any of Michizane’s remarks and just moved as though he were sliding on ice.
In truth, he was only walking a little faster, but his blurred appearance conjured that illusion.
It was unnerving to see the black haze move like that, but Michizane, in his anger or insanity, glared at him and sent out even more demonic blades.
Alas, all of them failed to make contact and merely dispersed into the air.
It was as though they weren’t even allowed to approach.
“Damn it! You useless sword!! Give me more power!!! You’re telling me you can’t even cut that thing!? You useless—”
『Oh, I’m sure you’d know all about being useless. But for the sake of my disciples, you shall make yourself useful for once and allow yourself to be saved, you useless man.』
The Mask had been ignoring Michizane’s words this whole time, but when Michizane started hurling curses at the sword because he couldn’t get his way, he finally responded to him with mockery, saying that the truly useless one was him.
For a moment, it sounded as though a blood vessel on Michizane audibly popped.
“Wow, he’s in perfect form.”
“If anything, it feels like he’s thornier than usual…”
Ryou and Tomoe wryly smiled while making a thousand mile look.
And Michizane blew his top.