V2 Chapter 137: Quintos Family

The sound of intense sword clashes echoes throughout the training ground.

The Mitsurugi family owns several training grounds within the city of Shuuto, which are normally used jointly by the forces of the Green Woods. However, this training ground, located to the northeast of Shuuto, is an exception, designated for a specific unit.

This exception is granted to the Third Banner of the Green Woods.

The Third Banner is known as one of the elite units among the Green Woods, recognized for their bravery and achievements. They have been awarded a private training ground by the Ministry. Naturally, the two currently exchanging blows in the training ground are banner soldiers of the Third Banner.

The sparring, conducted with soul equipment rather than wooden swords, carries a risk so severe that a single misstep could be fatal, but the combatants seem unfazed.

In fact, with each exchange, their swordplay becomes faster and more intense.



With a high-pitched clang, their soul equipment collides.

The light emitted from their soul equipment is golden on one side and jet black on the other. The two-colored slashes exchanged at blinding speed are filled with a dazzling force.

The sound of their fierce friction spreads as they sharpen their blades against each other. The duel, already surpassing fifty rounds, is approaching sixty.

Judging that continuing this fight would lead nowhere, or perhaps it was a prearranged signal, both banner soldiers simultaneously voice the command for drawing their weapons.

“Reap them, Harpe!”

“Tear them asunder, Orthros!”

Obeying their wielders’ intentions, each piece of soul equipment transforms.

The golden soul equipment becomes a gigantic scythe. The jet-black soul equipment turns into a double-headed blade.

The double-headed blade is a unique sword, combining two blades at the hilt – the top part of the handle – with blades at both ends. It allows for attacks distinct from those of a normal sword but demands considerable mastery to wield effectively.

The wielder of the double-headed blade grins with evident pleasure. His deeply sculpted, wild-looking face brims with confidence, a confidence backed by assured skill, as Harpe’s wielder, Mitsurugi Ragna, well knows.

“Lord Ragna, here I come.”

“Come at me, Lucius!”

Lucius Quintos, the vice-captain of the Green Woods’ Third Banner, braces his soul equipment at his waist and, with a force that seems to shatter the ground, powers his legs and closes in on Ragna in an instant.

Ragna’s large scythe, a long-handled weapon, becomes difficult to maneuver when an enemy gets too close. On the other hand, Lucius’ double-headed blade, with edges at both ends, excels in close combat.

Lucius, wielding his double-headed blade as if dancing, forces Ragna into retreat with a relentless barrage of attacks.

Ragna, pushed into a defensive stance, calmly intercepts, deflects, or dodges Lucius’ strikes, not allowing the blade to touch him. Seeing this, Lucius slightly curves his lips upward and suddenly amplifies his Kei, unleashing a Kei technique.

“Phantom Blade Style – Scarlet Hunt!”

A Kei technique of flame, unleashed at close range. Fierce fire whirls towards Ragna.

It’s a merciless strike, yet Ragna skillfully manipulates his soul equipment, casually splitting the flame vortex with the blade of his scythe.

Harpe, his soul equipment, could even lay to rest immortal monsters and giants. No matter how powerful the vice-captain of the Third Banner’s Kei technique was, against Harpe’s blade, it was no different from a bonfire in the wilderness. The whirl of flames vanishes in an instant, leaving a burnt scent tingling in Lucius’ nostrils.

Realizing his attack was evaded, Lucius quickly leaps back, creating distance from Ragna. With a smile that seems to signal the end of the practice, he says,

“Brilliantly done. Your response to the Kei technique was flawless.”

Lucius, though brief, genuinely praises Ragna, but the recipient doesn’t accept the compliment straightforwardly.

Ragna looks at Lucius with a stern gaze.

“A Kei technique? That wasn’t even middle-level, let alone a secret technique. Why don’t you use a secret technique? This is no different from a child’s practice.”

Seeing Ragna openly expressing his dissatisfaction, Lucius laughs heartily, trying to placate his opponent.

“Lord Ragna, the Phantom Blade Style is a sword for vanquishing evil and protecting the people. Using middle-level, let alone secret techniques, against a sparring partner is not appropriate.”

“But still…”

As Ragna starts to retort, Lucius playfully raises his index finger to his mouth.

“We are in the heart of Shuuto, Lord Ragna. No matter how secluded we are, if we draw swords and exchange secret techniques, the ripple of Kei cannot be concealed. It would immediately reach Lady Emma, or Ayaka, your fiancée’s ears. Weren’t you just reprimanded for recklessness?”


“I don’t want to earn a knuckle sandwich from my father either. Secret training should be done in secret places – that’s a man’s etiquette.”

With a wink, Lucius Quintos addresses Ragna, who, despite his apparent dissatisfaction, doesn’t retort.

Ragna wasn’t genuinely upset. He often voices complaints to Lucius, but it’s out of trust – a reliance akin to that for a family member.

Though not related by blood, Lucius and Ragna have a close bond. Lucius’ father, Zenon, served as a mentor to Ragna, and Lucius, since childhood, has been Ragna’s attendant. They were raised almost like brothers.

In fact, Ragna holds more affection and reliance on Lucius than his own brothers, allowing him to express thoughts he wouldn’t share with his mother, fiancée, or peers.

Since the return of Mitsurugi Sora, Ragna, unable to shake off a heavy heart, realizes he’s unfairly venting his frustration and impatience on Lucius and falls silent.

Lucius then speaks to Ragna in a gentle voice.

“Let’s call it a day for today’s practice. You might still feel it’s too early, but anything, whether person or object, will easily break if stretched too tight. It’s important to relax and rest. Coincidentally, I have tickets to a play. Why not invite your fiancée and enjoy a day out in the city?”

Lucius takes out two tickets from his pocket, causing Ragna to blink in surprise.

The tickets are for a troupe that has recently become the talk of Shuuto. Ragna had heard the young banner soldiers of the Third Banner discussing it.

“…You’re quite prepared, aren’t you?”

As Ragna asks with a puzzled look, Lucius scratches his cheek and looks away.

“Well, actually, I got these to invite the vice-captain of the Fifth Banner, but I was turned down. It’s not really something a man would enjoy alone, so I kept them. It’s better for you to use them than to let them go to waste in my pocket. Oh, and the tickets expire today, so you should invite your fiancée soon.”

Lucius casually offers the tickets, and Ragna, although with a grim expression, accepts them.

Then Ragna speaks.

“I’d like to say this is unnecessary, but I appreciate the advice. Just out of curiosity, did you really buy these tickets to invite the vice-captain of the Fifth Banner?”

“Of course.”

Lucius smiles wryly, and Ragna, after a silent gaze, nods as if conceding.

“Understood. Thank you.”

“Yes, have a relaxing time. I’ll smooth things over with my father on your behalf.”

After watching Ragna leave the training ground, Lucius Quintos’s demeanor shifts from the earlier brightness to a look of concern.

Lucius frowns, as if troubled by something. Then, unexpectedly, a firm male voice speaks from behind him.

“How did the young master fare, Lucius?”

“Not so well, Father.”

Without showing surprise at the sudden voice, Lucius responds calmly and turns to face Zenon Quintos, his father.

In contrast to his son’s wild hair, Zenon, known as one of the most stylish men in the Green Woods, has his long hair meticulously slicked back with fragrant oil, exuding the scent of musk. In a low voice, Lucius adds,

“He seems unable to let go of his anxiety. The defeat in the recent battle has left a scar on his heart.”

Hearing this, Zenon nods briefly. His face, like Lucius’s, shows concern for Ragna.

In a recent battle against the Kijin tribe, Ragna faced a Demon God and was gravely injured. This Demon God was slain by Ragna’s brother, Mitsurugi Sora.

The impact on Ragna has been significant. Since his recovery, he has been training day and night, more intensely than ever, even cutting back on sleep and meals.

Zenon, Lucius, along with Ragna’s mother and fiancée Ayaka, had urged him to slow down, and while he seemed to have calmed down somewhat, Zenon could sense that Ragna was still tormented by restlessness.

The leader of the Third Banner sighs.

“The young master recently mastered the secret techniques before turning twenty, a sign of his qualification as a leader. We hoped it would restore what he lost in defeat.”

“Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Just now, during practice, he demanded the use of middle and secret techniques. He seems to think what he’s doing now is not enough.”

“Restlessness clouds judgment and dulls decision-making. This could be dangerous.”

Lucius nods gravely at Zenon’s words. Even as a soul equipment wielder, one is still human. A slight distraction or lapse in concentration has cost many banner soldiers their lives.

Considering the current situation, with the Kijin tribe showing increased activity, Ragna’s state is perilous. He might recklessly plunge into battle against the Kijin to redeem his honor.

Watching his father sigh softly, Lucius hesitantly begins to speak.

“Lord Sora’s presence seems to be exacerbating Lord Ragna’s anxiety.”

“Indeed. The fact that he defeated the Demon God that Ragna couldn’t – it’s a difficult reality to ignore. Additionally, he bravely faced a Kijin general recently to rescue his peers caught in a trap set by the Berch family. The three-day fierce battle is known to every member of the Green Woods.”

Ragna, along with Zenon and others, had watched that battle from southern heaven Fortress. It was impossible for Ragna not to be affected by it.

At that time, the head of the Shikibu family had strictly ordered no intervention, and the reasons for Sora’s involvement in the battle, especially his stepping into the Kijin realm and the Berch family’s scheming, were not yet clear. The truth only came to light after Sora disappeared with the Kijin forces.

Aware of the situation, Ragna wished to immediately head to the Kijin realm to aid Klimt and the others, but this request was denied by the Shikibu family. Zenon also had to oppose it, considering the harshness of the Kijin realm and the unsuitability of allowing the Mitsurugi family heir to wander there without direction.

However, superficially, Sora appeared as a brave warrior who, despite being disowned by the Mitsurugi family, risked his life for his peers. In contrast, Ragna, despite being the heir, seemed indifferent to his peers’ plight. The memory of the battle with the Demon God further tarnished Ragna’s reputation among some.

Following these events, there were movements within the family to reinstate Sora as the heir, reflecting both the expectations for Sora and disappointment with Ragna.

For Zenon, this situation was becoming increasingly untenable.

Naturally, Zenon harbored resentment towards the Berch family for manipulating events to this point.

In supporting Ragna, the Quintos and Berch families found themselves on the same side. Consequently, some banner soldiers suspected the Quintos family of involvement in the recent incident.

This suspicion further aggravated Zenon’s irritation.

“Gilmore. It’s one thing for a schemer to drown in his own schemes, but it’s quite another to be dragged down with him. But never mind that, where did the young master go?”

Trying to shift his thoughts, Zenon asked Lucius. However, Zenon’s expression became troubled again upon hearing Lucius’s reply, though it was so subtle that even his son barely noticed it.

“I gave him tickets to a play, so he went to invite his fiancée.”


“The young master’s anxiety might also involve his fiancée. He fears she might be taken away by Lord Sora. Fortunately, she has shown no interest in the rumors about Lord Sora and has been treating Ragna the same as always. Watching a play together might help soothe his troubled mind.”

Lucius reveals, with a mischievous smile, that he had already spoken to Ayaka about it. He had set things up so that Ayaka would not refuse Ragna’s invitation. The vice-captain of the Third Banner had left nothing to chance.

Hearing this, Zenon merely nodded, neither praising nor criticizing Lucius’s plan.

Zenon thought to himself.

Certainly, as Lucius pointed out, Ayaka showed no interest in Sora’s story. Despite the change in attitude towards Ragna among the knights following the previous defeat and recent incident, Ayaka’s demeanor remained consistently favorable. This was true not only towards Ragna but also towards Zenon and Lucius.

In this sense, Lucius’s words were entirely accurate. Even from Zenon’s perspective, there seemed to be no deceit in Ayaka’s behavior.

On the other hand, it was also true that Ayaka, being betrothed, was not making any moves to change that status.

In fact, Zenon had on several occasions proposed to Ayaka to officially hold a wedding ceremony and become Ragna’s wife in both name and reality. It was clear that Ragna desired this, and Zenon also wanted to formally establish ties with the Azurite family.

The Azurite family was one of the most prestigious noble houses in the empire, and gaining their support would eliminate the need to align with families like Berch. Zenon suspected that Gilmore was trying to manipulate Ragna as a puppet and wanted to sever ties with the Berch family if possible. He had hoped that the marriage of Ayaka and Ragna would be the first step in this.

However, Ayaka’s response to this proposition was always the same. She wanted to wait until Ragna became the head of the Mitsurugi family to officially hold the wedding. According to Ayaka, this was a strong wish of the Azurite family.

The current head of the Mitsurugi family had a history of once changing the heir. The Azurite family feared that this might happen again and was hesitant about the marriage of Ragna and Ayaka, as she explained.

Indeed, there was a letter from the head of the Azurite family regarding this matter.

In the world of nobility, it was not unusual for betrothed relationships to change due to political situations, and it was not something frowned upon. However, a woman who had once vowed to become someone’s wife could not escape criticism if she changed husbands due to altered circumstances. The positions of a fiancée and a lawful wife were entirely different.

The Azurite family, being one of the three great noble houses of the empire, had to be cautious about public perception, and there was no urgent reason to hasten the wedding.

Thus, no matter how much Zenon assured that Ragna’s position was stable and the seat of the heir unshakable, he was always met with the response, “If that’s the case, there is even less reason to rush the wedding. It would be best to hold it officially once Lord Ragna becomes the head.”

If Zenon insisted further, it would be akin to admitting that Ragna’s position was unstable. Zenon had no choice but to give up.

From this perspective, Ayaka was merely following her father’s instructions and was not being insincere towards Ragna. However, it was also true that Ayaka did not try to persuade her father to allow her to become Ragna’s wife.

This point planted a trace of doubt in Zenon’s heart.

“Father, is something the matter?” Lucius asked, looking puzzled at Zenon, who had fallen into deep thought.

Snapping back to reality at Lucius’s voice, Zenon shook his head as if to clear away his dark thoughts.

“No, it’s nothing. By the way, Lucius, do you have any plans after this? If not, I could give you some training.”

“Oh, that would be most welcome! I was just thinking it’s about time for you to taste the sorrow of being surpassed by your own son!”

“Haha, that’s quite a bold statement. But be warned, if your bravado isn’t backed by real skill, you won’t get off easily.”

As they exchanged such words, the father and son of the Quintus family faced each other with daring smiles on their faces.

Just as an intense practice session, even fiercer than before, was about to begin, a knight bearing the insignia of a messenger, with an armband signifying his role, rushed into the training ground.

The knight, tense in the presence of Zenon and Lucius, began to speak.

“I have a message! From the Lord of the Manor, an urgent summons for Zenon of the Third Banner of Green Woods, Lord Lucius, and all knights up to the rank of ten, to gather immediately in the great hall!”

“Understood. Please convey to the Lord that we will comply immediately.”

“As you wish! Then, I shall take my leave!”

With a bow, the messenger turned on his heel and quickly departed.

Watching him leave, Lucius spoke in a low voice.

“Father, what could this be about?”

“I’m not sure. But if it’s not just the Banner Chief and Deputy Chief, but all knights ranked above ten are being summoned, it’s undoubtedly a matter of great importance. It could even be an enemy attack, though no alarms have been sounded.”

“An emergency not unlike an enemy attack, then. In any case, I’ll quickly gather everyone. My apologies to Lord Ragna for the inconvenience…”

“It can’t be helped. Perhaps there’s been some movement in the Demon Realm. If we can ascertain the safety of our peers, it might relieve some of Ragna’s anxiety.”

“Indeed. Then, father, I’ll see you later.”

With those words, Lucius too quickly left the training ground.

Zenon was about to follow his son but stopped for an unclear reason. Glancing at his hand, he noticed a slight tremble in his fingers.

Fear? Impossible. Zenon had never flinched in the face of any enemy, and he didn’t feel fear now.

Then, this wasn’t fear but rather a warrior’s anticipation. A premonition of something about to happen, a prelude to battle.

The Banner Chief of the Third Banner clenched his trembling hand firmly, lifted the corners of his lips slightly, and smiled.

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