V2 Chapter 148: The Unveiled Power

The Light God, Riosvaldor.

The moment his name was uttered, the Kei of Shikibu explosively intensified. It was immensely vast, heavy, and chilling to the core, a solemn and awe-inspiring force of Kei.

Yet, the power that manifested outwardly was almost imperceptible. If Sora’s Kei earlier was like a gentle breeze, Shikibu’s was like the night or falling snow. Like snowflakes descending silently and deeply from a dark sky, his Kei was cold yet quietly manifesting.

Though different in their expressions, the sheer magnitude of their Kei was comparable. The intense pressure created as these two forces confronted each other was beyond words.

Sidney Skyship, seated at the fifth rank of the Green Woods’ sixth banner, was one of the banner knights gathered in the great hall by the order of the head of the family, as indicated by his ranking. “All banner knights above the tenth rank, assemble.”

Naturally, he was also present at the dueling ground. Sidney had just barely withstood Sora’s Kei, but he couldn’t endure the combined Kei of the father and son.


As if seized by invisible giants on his shoulders, Sidney’s stance faltered, and he knelt on the ground. Not only that, he barely managed to avoid collapsing by supporting himself on his hands.

Beads of sweat like pearls formed on his forehead, and his body trembled slightly. Like a frog petrified by a snake’s gaze, Sidney was completely immobilized.

No, ‘immobilized’ might not be the right term. Neither Sora nor Shikibu intended to immobilize Sidney. It was more that Sidney was paralyzed by fear, freezing up on his own.

Yet, he didn’t find this shameful. If two mythical creatures began to battle before his eyes, or if two deities started clashing, there was little else a human could do but to be petrified in fear.

For a Green Woods banner knight aspiring to slay mythical creatures, such a thought was unbecoming. But this was the unvarnished truth within Sidney Skyship’s heart.

“…Sid, are you alright?”

A voice from Sai of the same sixth banner, Kumon, reached him.

Sai, unlike Sidney, had not fallen to his hands and knees, but he too seemed unable to avoid kneeling on one knee. His lips twisted bitterly.

Sidney replied, trying to keep his voice steady.

“…Somehow. Are you alright, Sai?”

“…Can’t you see? It’s one thing to kneel before the head of the house, but to be brought to my knees by that traitor’s Kei pressure…”

Sai spat out venomously, as if disgusted by his own weakness.

In everyday life, Sai, who never loses his composure despite his frivolous speech, raised his voice in agitation. Sidney noticed drops of sweat trickling down Sai’s cheek, sensing irritation and anxiety in his expression.

Sai, known for his sarcastic remarks, actually holds an exceptionally high sense of pride as a Green Woods banner knight. Consequently, his interactions with those he considers unworthy (in his opinion) of a banner knight are often laced with barbs, and his harsh treatment of Sora is a typical example.

On the other hand, once Sai acknowledges someone, he’s flexible enough to change his attitude. Since the battle with the demon god, as far as Sidney knew, Sai hadn’t openly berated Sora.

Sai’s renewed insults towards Sora as an “empty fool” likely stemmed from Sora’s current alliance with the Kijin, something Sai found utterly unacceptable.

For Sai, being brought to his knees by the pressure of Sora’s Kei must have been a humiliation indeed.

Sidney, unable to hide his own irritation, found himself unable to say anything to Sai.

To Sidney, Sora’s actions were also incomprehensible, but he didn’t believe, as Sai suggested, that Sora had betrayed the Mitsurugi family to side with the Kijin. After all, someone with such intentions wouldn’t risk danger in the demon realm to save Claira and Klimt.

Sora must have had some reason for standing with the Kijin. When Sidney thought about what that reason might be, the only thing that came to mind was what Sora had declared in the great hall.

“Three hundred years ago, the Kijin slew a dragon and were robbed of their achievement. The Mitsurugi family falsely claimed the title of saviors. Do you, descendant of the first Sword Saint, acknowledge this wrongdoing and intend to open the demon gate?”

The first Sword Saint was well-known to Sidney. The founder of the Skyship family had served under the first generation of the Green Woods banner knights, and Sidney had heard countless tales of their endeavors for peace since he was a child.

Sora had claimed that the first Sword Saint had stolen the Kijin’s achievements and falsely claimed the title of a savior. These were words that could overturn not just the history of the Mitsurugi family but also that of the Skyship family.

Even Sidney, known for his mild temper and deep thought, couldn’t consider Sora’s statement as anything but delusional ramblings. Sai, too, didn’t seem bothered by Sora’s words, clearly dismissing them as the ravings of a traitor.

Sora’s statement was likely a history believed among the Kijin, and having learned of it in the demon realm, he chose to believe this false history and rebel against his own family.

Such an action seemed foolish and naive to Sidney.


“I will now annul your disownment and allow you to bear the Mitsurugi name once more. You, who have wounded the Sword Saint, are worthy of it.”

These words spoken earlier by Shikibu lingered in Sidney’s mind.

Regardless of Sora’s improved swordsmanship, someone who denies the achievements of the founder should not be allowed to bear the Mitsurugi name.

Perhaps Shikibu thought it didn’t matter to temporarily allow Sora the surname, as he intended to end Sora’s life in that place anyway.

However, from Sidney’s understanding of Shikibu’s conversation with Gozu, it seemed Shikibu acknowledged the possibility of his own defeat.

If Sora were to win, a “descendant of the Mitsurugi main house who denies the founder” would emerge, and moreover, as the strongest swordsman who defeated the Sword Saint.

Should this fear become reality, the Mitsurugi family would undoubtedly be forced into division. Worse, it might even lead to imperial intervention, dismantlement, and extinction. Forces within and outside the empire, seeing the Mitsurugi family with its immense military might of the eight banners of Green Woods as a threat, are abundant. What would happen if Sora joined such forces, especially with the addition of the Kijin clan?

At this thought, Sidney was suddenly overcome by a strong chill that made his whole body shiver.

If he had to put this chill into words, it would be the fear of everything he had believed in crumbling away. At that moment, Sidney truly felt the premonition of the collapse of the Mitsurugi family as it had always been.

Yet, he couldn’t precisely articulate this premonition, and thus the chill remained just a chill, leaving Sidney Skyship to shudder and gasp in discomfort.

It was then…

“Are you alright, Sidney?”

Along with these words, someone placed a hand on Sidney’s shoulder as he was kneeling on the ground.

Immediately, Sidney’s body jerked in response to the Kei transmitted from the shoulder, which felt like a light tap. It was akin to being awakened from a bad dream, and Sidney blinked his eyes as if coming back to his senses.

With Sidney’s return to awareness, the chill was dispelled. Shaking his head lightly as he stood up, Sidney thanked the person who had helped him.

“Thank you, Ayaka. I feel better now.”

“You’re welcome… Sai looks troubled too. Does he need help?”

Ayaka Azurite, who had lightly nodded to Sidney, then turned to address Sai, who was still kneeling on one knee beside Sidney.

Hearing this, Sai grimaced as he stood up and said with a slight curl of his lips.

“No, I’m fine.”

“Alright. But don’t push yourself too hard.”

“Thanks for the concern. But, you might want to worry more about Ragna than me.”

Sai, Ayaka’s fellow trainee and her fiancé, Mitsurugi Ragna, had yet to show himself. With a hint of sarcasm, Sai suggested that instead of being here, she should go check on Ragna’s situation. Ayaka responded with a slight smile to Sai’s remark.

If Sora wins, it would mean the emergence of a Mitsurugi main house member who denies the founder. Moreover, this person would be the strongest swordsman in the world, having defeated the Sword Saint.

Should this fear materialize, the Mitsurugi family would undoubtedly face division. Worse, it might even lead to intervention by the empire and possibly dissolution or extinction. Many within and outside the empire view the Mitsurugi family, with its significant military force of the Green Woods’ eight banners, as a threat. The implications of Sora siding with such forces, and the addition of the Kijin clan, are alarming.

Realizing this, Sidney shuddered with a profound chill.

This chill, if articulated, would be the fear of everything he believed in collapsing. At that moment, Sidney truly sensed the impending disintegration of the Mitsurugi family as he knew it.

Yet, he couldn’t quite articulate this premonition. Therefore, the chill remained just a chill, leaving Sidney Skyship to shudder in discomfort.

It was then…

“Are you alright, Sidney?”

Along with these words, someone laid a hand on Sidney’s shoulder, who was kneeling on the ground.

Sidney’s body jerked immediately, as the Kei from the touch felt like a light tap. It was like being awakened from a nightmare, and Sidney blinked as if coming back to his senses.

With Sidney’s return to awareness, the chill was dispelled. As he stood up, shaking his head lightly, Sidney thanked the person who had helped him.

“Thank you, Ayaka. I feel much better now.”

“You’re welcome… Does Sai need help too?”

Ayaka Azurite, who had nodded lightly to Sidney, turned to address Sai, still kneeling on one knee beside Sidney.

Sai stood up with a grimace and replied with a curl of his lips.

“No, I’m good.”

“Alright. Just don’t overdo it.”

“Thanks for the concern. But you might want to worry more about Ragna than me.”

Sai’s peer and Ayaka’s fiancé, Mitsurugi Ragna, had yet to appear. With a hint of sarcasm, Sai suggested she should go check on Ragna. Ayaka smiled slightly at Sai’s remark.

“Ragna’s absence is precisely why I need to watch Lord Mitsurugi and Sora’s fight properly. So I can tell Ragna everything later.”

Saying this, Ayaka turned her gaze to the father and son facing each other in the duel. Sidney and Sai involuntarily followed her gaze.

Shikibu, having drawn his soul equipment, had not moved an inch. Both were silently staring at each other, emitting pressure that forced even high-ranking banner knights to kneel.

It was then Sidney belatedly realized that Shikibu’s soul equipment was not manifesting—or rather, given the increased pressure of Kei, it was manifesting, but in a different way than other banner knights.

Normally, the soul equipment of Green Woods banner knights, like Sidney’s Murasame, Sai’s Longinus, and Ayaka’s Carla, manifest as weapons.

This type is known as ‘armed type.’ However, the sword Shikibu currently held was merely the Mitsurugi family head’s personal sword, Sasayuki. No other weapon-like object was visible. Hence, Shikibu’s soul equipment was not of the ‘armed type.’

There’s also the ‘variant type,’ where the soul equipment manifests physically, but Shikibu’s appearance had not changed. Therefore, it’s not of the ‘variant type’ either.

The only visible change was a radiance enveloping Shikibu, reminiscent of a halo.

“That light… is Lord Mitsurugi’s soul equipment…?”

Sidney murmured to no one in particular.

Ayaka responded with a melodious tone.

“The Light God Baldur. As his name suggests, he’s a god governing light, known for his wisdom, gentle nature, and fair judgment. Favored by the Mother Goddess, Baldur was said to be ‘unharmed by anything in the world.’ That light is a manifestation of his authority, essentially Baldur himself.”

“Baldur… An Anima in itself? Such a soul equipment…”

“Some call it the ‘manifestation type’ alongside the armed and variant types. Though rare, so it’s not widely recognized.”

Ayaka answered Sidney’s question as if it was obvious.

Sidney looked at Ayaka with surprise, confusion, and a hint of suspicion.

“…You’re very knowledgeable, Ayaka?”

“When you’re part of one of the three great imperial families, you end up having to do things you don’t want to, and learn things you’d rather not know.”

Whether intentional or not, Ayaka’s response to Sidney’s query was somewhat vague.

Indeed, as a direct descendant of one of the three great imperial families, Ayaka would undoubtedly bear responsibilities and have access to information beyond Sidney’s imagination. Although Ayaka rarely showed such burdens, it didn’t mean she wasn’t carrying them. Sidney understood this.

However, it raised the question of whether the Azurite family would know about Shikibu’s soul equipment’s true nature, the related mythology, and even the term ‘manifestation type.’ Furthermore, Ayaka hadn’t explicitly stated she learned this information from the Azurite family.

Ayaka’s responses felt somewhat ambiguous to Sidney.

Nevertheless, Sidney had neither the right nor the qualification to interrogate Ayaka. She had helped him when he was crouching and answered his questions to the best of her ability.

For Sidney to question her about the source of her information would be extremely ungrateful. He decided to suppress his swirling doubts and suspicions.

Then, Sai, who had been silent until now, spoke up.

“Your story is intriguing, but you, Azurite, are quite the enigma yourself. Sidney and I were forced to our knees by Lord Mitsurugi and Sora’s Kei, yet you walk around coolly and worry about your peers. Just how resilient are you?”

“My Carla is the natural enemy of the dragon kind and also of the divine kind. From the time it was an egg, it was imbued with the wish to be a hundred times stronger than the divine kind. That’s why I have resistance to the powers of both Sora and Lord Mitsurugi.”

Ayaka casually revealed a part of her secret, causing Sai’s eyes to widen.

“I haven’t heard that!?”

“Well, of course, I never said it. Just like I haven’t told Sora, Ragna, or even my own family. You must have things you haven’t told others too, right, Sai, the wielder of the Longinus, the Saint Slayer?”

Ayaka smiled slyly in response, and Sai’s face contorted as if he had bitten into a bitter bug.

However, he didn’t say anything more, likely because he found some truth in Ayaka’s words.

Sidney, standing beside them, remained silent, merely observing his fellow trainees.

A brief silence enveloped the three.

Then, the banner knights around them stirred, breaking the silence. Their gazes were uniformly fixed on the dueling ground.

There, a luminous humanoid figure had just separated from Shikibu’s body.

Separated. Yes, it had separated.

The humanoid figure that had split from Shikibu’s body was almost the same size and build as him. Its face and attire were shrouded in light, making them indiscernible. The only clear thing was that it held a sword, or a weapon similar to it, in its hand.

This was a “split body.”

Many banner knights had the same thought flash through their minds: “split body.” This ability creates a duplicate that possesses the same level of power as oneself.

There have been similar techniques and soul equipment abilities before. However, in most cases, these were merely illusions associated with high-speed movement or deception magic, and they did not actually create a duplicate.

In this sense, Shikibu’s ability could be called a true “split body.” The reason for this was clear: both Shikibu and the humanoid figure emitted the exact same Kei.

This essentially meant that there were now two Mitsurugi Shikibus.

Banner knights who were unaware of Shikibu’s soul equipment were rendered speechless.

Even the veteran banner knights who knew about Shikibu’s soul equipment were equally stunned. The Sword Saint’s soul equipment was indeed something extraordinary.

Moreover, there was more to this ability.

“Phantom Blade Style – Secret Techniques…”

Shikibu took up one of the secret stances, the Ken form, of the Phantom Blade Style.

Simultaneously, the figure of light also assumed a secret stance. However, its stance was distinctly different from Shikibu’s—it was the Ri form, another secret technique of the Phantom Blade Style.

The humanoid figure was capable of independent movement, not just following Shikibu.

The next moment, the now two Sword Saints charged towards Sora.

The deadly battle had begun.

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