V2 Chapter 140: A Brush of the Armored Sleeve

A chill ran down Ragna’s spine.

Even if it were suggested that this was due to fear, Mitsurugi Ragna would never have agreed. Yet, it was undeniably a shiver born of fear.

His full-powered strike had been blocked by an opponent who had not even drawn their soul equipment, let alone their blade. How could he not tremble before such a reality?

Sora’s hand, which caught the blade of the Halberd, was unscathed, not even a scratch. Upon closer inspection, a densely concentrated shield of Kei, visible to the naked eye, was covering his hand. It wasn’t just a matter of dense Kei; Sora’s shield was intricately woven like a high-quality fabric, with Kei intricately interlaced.

The control was so delicate and precise that it took one’s breath away.

Back at the Southern Heaven Fortress, when Sora had battled the Kijin Douga, he hadn’t demonstrated such adept manipulation of Kei. Although the volume of his Kei was immense, it wasn’t fully utilized.

Indeed, back then, Sora had been mostly on the defensive against the Kijin. At least, that’s how Ragna had judged it, which led him to believe he had a chance to win now.

He had devoted himself to mastering Kei techniques for this very reason. If he couldn’t match Sora in terms of Kei volume, he had to surpass him with the sharpness of his Kei techniques. What was necessary was to prevent Sora from recovering and to deliver a strike powerful enough to kill in one blow.

With this resolve, he had desperately mastered the secret techniques.

Yet, Sora had casually caught these secret techniques bare-handed. Judging by his unharmed state, even the previous Ken of Qian attack had been blocked.

The secret techniques that Ragna had learned from Zenon and Lucius, honing them with painful dedication, proved useless.

The moment he realized this, lightning seemed to flash in the eyes of the Mitsurugi family’s heir.

“Don’t mess

with me… Don’t you dare mess with meeeee!”

With a roar of anger, Ragna’s Kei swelled immensely. The growing Kei raged and roared, creating a sound so intense that the very air seemed to scream under the pressure.

Driven by fury, Ragna released his Kei while gripping the Halberd tighter in his hand.

The blade of the Halberd and Sora’s shield clashed, sparking and grinding against each other with a grating noise, like metal scraping metal, assaulting their eardrums.

Ragna pushed his soul equipment with all his might, but no matter how much force he exerted, Sora’s shield did not waver. The more Ragna’s Kei raged, the more Sora’s Kei remained tranquil and unmoving.

This serene defense reminded Ragna of the Kijin Douga, whom Sora had battled earlier.


Realizing he couldn’t break through Sora’s defenses, Ragna clenched his back teeth tightly. It had been a perfect opportunity, born from catching the opponent off guard, an opportunity unlikely to come again.

But he had already proven that continuing the close combat as it was would lead to no solution. And if he created distance, it would only give Sora time to draw his soul equipment. In such a case, Ragna knew he would stand no chance of victory.

As Ragna contemplated this, he briefly caught sight of Zenon and Lucius in his peripheral vision.

If he was adamant about winning, he should have had them attack Sora from behind at that moment. The opponent was a running dog of the Kijin; there was no need to consider fairness or honor.

But then, Ragna thought.

If he were to be content with such a strategy, to rely on others for assistance and find meaning in a victory achieved that way, he would never have chosen to fight alone from the start. A man who depends on others in such a manner does not deserve to be the heir of the Mitsurugi family.

With these thoughts, Ragna clicked his tongue loudly and kicked off the ground, deciding to retreat and regroup, prepared to give Sora the opportunity to draw his soul equipment.

Sora’s reaction to this move was swift.


With a faint exhalation, Sora too kicked off the ground. Unlike Ragna, who had leaped backward, Sora lunged forward.

With his now refined ability to control Kei, Sora’s shield had become significantly stronger. The same could be said for his high-speed movement technique using Kei.


Ragna exclaimed in astonishment as Sora rapidly closed in on him. Ragna raised his Halberd in an attempt to counterattack, but Sora, with the speed of lightning, darted past him and quickly maneuvered behind.

Ragna, having his back taken in a blink, reflexively swung his Halberd to slash at the enemy behind him.

However, Sora was no longer where the soul equipment had flashed. “Where is he?” Ragna wondered, searching for his opponent. In the next instant…


Something hard pressed against Ragna’s back through the overcoat of the Azure Forest warrior. Whether it was a stick, a sword, or even a fingertip, he couldn’t tell. But Ragna’s body jolted, and he froze in place.

It was a too-light strike from a perfect blind spot. The unspoken warning was clear: Sora could kill him at any moment if he wished.


Engaging in hand-to-hand combat against soul equipment and then delivering such a composed warning was not an act of carelessness. Ragna was forced to admit that he was being deliberately spared by Sora.

This was the ultimate humiliation, disgrace, and insult for Mitsurugi Ragna, a stain upon his honor. Overcome with anger, his face flushed red, Ragna was about to retaliate, driven by his emotions.

He acted with the resolution that being stabbed from behind for ignoring the warning wouldn’t matter. As Ragna prepared to move, Sora, who had been pointing his index finger at Ragna’s back, watched him struggle in silence, clenching his fist.

It was at this moment that Zenon and Lucius intervened in the fight.

“Soul equipment, awaken

—Bite and tear, Orthros!”

The jet-black double-edged blade sliced through the air, rapidly closing in on Sora.

“Soul equipment, awaken—Roar, Nemean Lion, Leo Nemeanus!”

A broad greatsword, as tall as a man, roared as it lunged towards Sora.

This could have been called a surprise attack, but the intention of the two from the Quintos family was not to defeat Sora, but to separate him from Ragna. To their eyes, Ragna, who had his back taken by Sora, seemed to be on the verge of being killed at any moment.

Ragna, having mastered the secret techniques and earned the qualification to become a leader among the eight banners, was still new to his role. There was a not insignificant gap in power between him and Zenon and Lucius, who had years of experience as leaders.

Sensing this, Sora did not attempt to catch the two soul equipments with his bare hands. He quickly disengaged from Ragna and created distance, facing Zenon and Lucius.

Lucius, keeping his eye on Sora’s movements, positioned himself between Sora and Ragna. Zenon quickly approached Ragna, inquiring with concern in his voice.

“Young master, are you alright?”

Ragna responded with a growling voice to Zenon’s question.

His eyes did not show relief or gratitude for being saved, only a sharp intensity.

“Zenon, don’t interfere! I said I would fight him!”

“Young master, you must understand by now. You are no match for him as you are.”

Ragna’s brows furrowed as he looked at Zenon, who spoke in a tone trying to reason with him. Zenon, facing Ragna’s anger head-on, shook his head and reiterated.

“You must have felt it too, young master. We cannot let you continue to fight alone. Please heed our advice.”


Ragna opened his mouth as if to say something, but then closed it without uttering a word.

His disagreement was evident, as was his dissatisfaction. Nevertheless, he did not insist on continuing the fight himself.

Zenon, confirming this, internally sighed in relief and turned back towards Sora.

Throughout their conversation, Sora had remained motionless. Whether he didn’t move because he was facing Lucius or he never intended to move in the first place was unclear.

If it was the latter, Sora’s purpose might have been to demonstrate the difference in strength between him and Ragna.

For whom? Certainly, for the Mitsurugi family, especially the head, Shikibu. If one considered that Sora fought barehanded to prove his strength and regain his position as the legitimate heir upon his return to the Mitsurugi family, it made sense.

As Zenon stared intensely at Sora, Sora spoke in response to his gaze.

“Are you two next?”

“Indeed. Despite once being the hair of this house, we cannot show mercy to someone who has succumbed to the Kijin. I surmise you fought Ragna to prove your strength, intending to return to the Mitsurugi family and eventually reclaim the position of heir, but I must tell you that this is impossible.”

Sora looked surprised at this.

He then snorted derisively.

“Return and reclaim the heir position? Ridiculous. Do you still think I have any lingering attachment to the Mitsurugi family? I made it clear during my last grave visit that I had no such intentions.”

“And we are to believe that? Then why did you risk fighting Ragna barehanded?”

“Ah, so that’s where the misunderstanding comes from. If I had injured Ragna, it would have drawn the Mitsurugi family’s wrath. That’s why I chose to fight barehanded. You thought it was a strategic move for eventually returning.”

Zenon, correctly understanding Sora’s intentions, silently stared back at him.

Sora shrugged his shoulders in exasperation and equally divided his gaze between Xenon, Lucius, and Ragna.

“Such a misunderstanding is absurd. I held back because I didn’t want to be hated by Lady Emma as the murderer of her son. There is no other reason.”

With that, Sora raised the corners of his lips in a grin.

He then clenched his fists, lowered his stance, and assumed a combat-ready position.

“Just so you know, I have no intention of holding back against the steward and his son. Don’t expect any leniency from me, Quintos.”

Watching Sora provocatively utter their family name, Zenon’s eyes narrowed sharply, and Lucius furrowed his brows, glaring at Sora with evident displeasure.

Zenon spoke with a resolute demeanor.

“From the start, we have had no intention of showing mercy to an outsider like you, nor do we need to. Come at us without restraint. We will engrave the essence of the Quintos family’s martial prowess into your overconfident eyes.”

“Then I shall take you up on your offer and hold nothing back.”

With a casual declaration, Sora lunged towards Lucius. Just like in his fight with Ragna, he did not draw his soul equipment or unsheathe the sword at his waist, choosing to fight with bare hands.

The only difference from his battle with Ragna was the crescent shape formed by Sora’s mouth.


Watching Sora rapidly close the distance, Lucius heightened his alertness but remained composed. Sora was fast, but not so much that he couldn’t be caught.

Indeed, Lucius accurately caught Sora’s right fist with his soul equipment. Now Sora was within the range of the double-edged blade. Lucius planned to overwhelm him with a series of relentless attacks. As he prepared to retaliate, Sora’s whispering voice reached his ears.

“Four Calamities, Third—’Destruction’.”

The next moment, the shock Lucius felt was unlike anything he had experienced before. A thunderous noise as if twisting a hundred iron rods simultaneously pierced his eardrums, and immense pressure was exerted on both hands gripping the soul equipment.

It wasn’t just his hands. An appalling force was being applied to the soul equipment itself. The double-edged blade creaked as if in agony. It was the scream of Lucius’s Anima Orthros, and at the same time, the sound of his own soul cracking.


Lucius was in no position to counterattack. He instinctively jumped back, trying to distance himself from Sora. He realized that if he continued to receive Sora’s punches, his soul equipment would be shattered.

Naturally, Sora wouldn’t miss such a movement. Springing off the ground, Sora closed the distance with Lucius in a flash, this time delivering a left punch.

Judging it dangerous to catch it with his soul equipment, Lucius removed his right hand from the handle to intercept the punch. Although the shock from the previous impact still lingered in his body, Lucius was the deputy commander of the Green Forest’s eight banners. A slight disturbance wouldn’t unsettle his Kei, and his shield retained its full strength.

Lucius successfully caught Sora’s punch with his right hand. The Kei infused in the fist wasn’t powerful enough to shatter Lucius’s shield. He was confident he had blocked it.

—He thought he had blocked it.

A chill ran down Lucius’s spine. He felt the supposedly blocked attack slip smoothly into his body, a sensation of cold dread like he had never experienced before, making every hair on his body stand on end.

Immediately after…


Lucius’s hand was shattered by the Kei strike, and a howl of agony burst from his mouth.

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