V2 Chapter 92: Klimt vs. Shinto

“What are you thinking, Kurt?”

The unmasked Shinto asks with a stern face. The sharp, needle-like gaze emanating from his eyes pierces straight into Klimt’s face.

Klimt responds with a smirk at the corner of his lips.

“Do I even need to answer? I’ve had enough of your charades.”

“Oh, interesting. So, you’re going against the orders of the Shikibu, are you?”

Upon hearing this, Klimt couldn’t help but chuckle. It was amusing that Shinto still believed the Mitsurugi family was acting under his command.

Noticing this, Shinto accurately picked up on the derision directed at him. His gaze grew sharper, and he roared with a hateful tone.

“Fine then. I’ll let you taste the ultimate techniques of the Nanashiki once more. This time, without holding back. Regret your insolence in the underworld, brat!”

By this point, Shinto had abandoned his plan to kill Lan and instill hatred in Yamato.

For Shinto, the priority was to maintain the rebellion until the Nakayama army invaded. By killing the siblings and framing it as the Nakayama army’s doing, he could provoke leaders like Kasasagi and the soldiers of Mount Ganzan.

While there was a risk that the Mount Ganzan army could fall apart after their leader was defeated, if that happened, they could blame it all on Kurt, or more broadly, the Mitsurugi family. This wasn’t an excuse but a simple fact, and even under the “Lie Detection Sense-Rai” in the main temple of the Light God faith, there wouldn’t be an issue.

Donning his four-eyed demon mask once again, Shinto forms a seal with his free hand.

“– Exorcise the great demon lord, drive the plague god thousands of miles away

— Purify with the small demon lord, cleanse the filth that lingers at the borders

— I implore, let us chase with the five kinds of soldiers.”

The chant, resembling a Shinto ritual prayer, was unique to the Fangxiang clan. Unlike the widely known magic and arcane arts, it wasn’t an adaptation of demonic techniques but purely a human magic spell.

From this, one can infer that the Fangxiang clan was a combat group with the ideology of driving away evil spirits and demons as mere mortals. Those belonging to the Fangxiang clan, while certainly equipped with soul equipment, shunned attack magic derived from demon techniques, spirit magic that borrows the power of spirits, and divine magic that brings forth miracles. They avoided relying on non-human powers.

Power that relies on non-human entities isn’t truly human. Moreover, many who rely on non-human powers often get consumed by it. And defeating these “inhumans” was also part of the Fangxiang clan’s duties.

This ideology of the Fangxiang clan, not to rely on non-human powers, was cultivated from such historical experiences.

They saw themselves as protectors of humans, and therefore, had to train, hone, and use their inherent physical strength, magical power, and mental strength to eradicate evil – that became the creed of the Fangxiang clan.

Of course, it’s not as simple as just saying it. What particularly troubled the Fangxiang clan was their battles against the demons — the Kijin tribe.

The battle against the Kijin was a battle against soul equipment. It’s nearly impossible to describe the difficulty of defeating a Kijin without possessing an Anima. No one truly knew how many warriors had fallen in the fight against the Kijin.

But the Fangxiang clan never gave up. They developed strategies, conducted research, and honed their skills, eventually mastering a secret technique to seal the soul equipment.

That was the spell Shinto had recited. The barrier technique “Gero,” which activates with the caster at its center. Its effect was to drastically diminish the magical power of anyone within its range.

From this “Gero” was developed the combat technique known as Nanashiki. The Nanashiki, derived from countless corpses, was the Kijin-slaying sword technique invented by the Fangxiang clan.

Shinto, a practitioner of Nanashiki, spent over a decade mastering Gero and another decade or more mastering Nanashiki. To him, the Phantom Blade Style that a greenhorn like Klimt could master was nothing more than child’s play, not worth mentioning.

Those who have forsaken the pursuit of maximizing their inherent abilities and easily drifted into mediocrity with their swords were not to be feared.

With absolute confidence, Shinto lunged at Klimt like a soaring bird.

The sword tip, thrust out like a bolt of lightning, aimed straight for Klimt’s forehead. Without dodging to the side or retreating, Klimt faced it head-on.

Their battlefield was a not-so-wide corridor in a fortress. There wasn’t enough space to dodge, and retreating would expose the defenseless Lan and others to Shinto’s gaze. There was no choice but to confront it directly.

The two swords clashed, and a grating noise that seemed to tear at the eardrums echoed. The momentum of Shinto’s thrust almost sent Klimt’s sword flying, and Klimt had to grit his teeth and muster strength in his legs.

With fierce intensity, Shinto kept unleashing piercing thrusts at Klimt. Each attack was fast, sharp, and heavy, sending a strong numbing sensation up Klimt’s arm with each block.

The sheer force felt almost as if Klimt was fending off a spear rather than a sword. Regardless of any other flaws, there was no doubt about Shinto’s genuine skill as a swordsman.

“Hahaha! You seem quite distressed, Kurt! Where’s that bravado from earlier?”

Shinto laughed, mocking Klimt. Of course, he did not let up his attack even as he taunted.

By now, Shinto was certain of his victory and was cornering Klimt like a cat toying with a cornered mouse.

A cornered mouse might bite a cat, but Klimt was seemingly powerless to do even that. His magical power was sealed by Gero, rendering him unable to utilize even the Kei techniques, let alone his soul equipment.

Naturally, the Gero wasn’t an invincible technique. One couldn’t expect such absolute power from a technique activated by a single human’s magical power.

That’s precisely why the practitioners of Nanashiki, including Shinto, refined this technique to its limits. They honed it to push its inherent boundaries as far as possible.

Shinto had dedicated over a decade to mastering this barrier technique. In other words, he had devoted more than half of his life to perfecting a single technique. The intricate and robust barrier that spread around Shinto was not something a novice like Klimt could break. At least, that’s what Shinto firmly believed.

“Relying on such a dubious power as Anima will leave you helpless when you lose it! Power easily obtained is just as easily lost! Keep this golden adage close to your heart as you journey to the underworld, Kurt— Nanashiki Thistle Blade, Thousand Peak Edge!”

Shinto unleashed once again the secret technique of the Nanashiki that had once gouged Klimt’s chest. He had held back previously, but with no need to do so now, he unleashed his full strength.

In the blink of an eye, Klimt was overwhelmed by a flurry of thrusts, his sword sent flying into the air.

Klimt seemed to be out of options, about to be torn apart like a body riddled with bullet holes. Envisioning this grim end, Shinto let a smirk form on his lips.

However, his mocking laughter didn’t last long.

Suddenly, Klimt had grabbed the thrusting tip of the blade with his bare hand. Naturally, this wasn’t without consequence; a vivid spray of blood burst from Klimt’s hand. Yet, the white-haired swordsman didn’t flinch.

Seeing this, Shinto spat out with a mix of surprise and scorn, “Hmph. You think you’ve defended against my blade? If I push it further now, you can do nothing.”

“If you think so, then go ahead.”

“I don’t need you to tell me! Stop putting on such a futile brave face, boy!”

True to his words, Shinto began pushing the blade with all his might, expecting no retaliation. After all, Klimt, having lost his sword and with his magic sealed, was powerless.

Or so it seemed.

“What the—”

The blade wouldn’t budge. No matter how much force Shinto applied, Klimt’s strength held it in place.

This couldn’t be, Shinto thought. Sealing the magical power also meant sealing the Kei. Klimt shouldn’t be able to use any Kei techniques, let alone basic physical enhancements.

Yet, for some reason, Shinto couldn’t control his own sword. Before he could figure out the answer to his quandary, he felt something amiss in the hand holding the blade.

“It… hurts?!”

It felt as though he wasn’t holding a sword but grabbing a blazing flame.

Realizing that the source of this intense heat was Klimt, who was gripping the blade, a chill ran down Shinto’s spine.

With eyes glowing like burning embers, Klimt stared intently at Shinto.

“…Klimt, you…”

“Did you think only you were holding back? Sure, it’s a bothersome technique, but it’s not enough to seal away my Soul Equipment.”

“Damn it… release my sword!”

As the heat emanating from Klimt continued to escalate, Shinto cried out in discomfort. However, Klimt showed no signs of heeding his plea.

With every passing moment, Klimt’s Kei surged, and the accompanying heat only intensified. Although the level of his Kei was perhaps half of what it normally was, it was still more than enough to contend with a swordsman devoid of Soul Equipment.

Again, it’s essential to understand that the Geroū technique is activated with the magical power of a single person and has its limits. No matter how intricately the technique is crafted, if the opponent’s magical power exceeds that of the practitioner, its efficacy diminishes.

In essence, Shinto had underestimated Klimt. Or perhaps, he had overestimated his own abilities. Regardless, this oversight proved to be a critical mistake for him.

“Soul Equipment Ignition— Burn it all, Kurikara!”


With the surge of heat and force as Klimt drew his Soul Equipment, Shinto was blown away. Klimt tossed aside Shinto’s sword that he held in his hand and slowly approached the fallen Shinto.

Klimt reflected.

Shinto had spoken with such confidence, yet if he couldn’t handle someone of Klimt’s caliber, the depth of his Nanashiki was easily discernible. Among the Golden Generation, Klimt was ranked at the bottom and was seventh among the Azure Eight Banners. There were many more above Klimt.

Yet, it was also true that Shinto’s technique was troublesome. Those without Soul Equipment would likely have all their Kei techniques sealed. Even newcomers who had just acquired Soul Equipment would face the same fate.

The mere invention of such a technique showed that the Fangxiang clan was not to be underestimated. And there was some connection between the Fangxiang clan and the Mitsurugi family’s head. Shinto’s words and actions had made that evident.

Klimt needed to extract this information from Shinto. It might even be possible to free his sister without relying on the divine weapon. It was at that moment of contemplation.

“What are you doing, Shinto?”

The voice, echoing through the dark night, sent chills down Klimt’s spine.

The owner of the voice stood right next to Klimt. Appearing without any prior indication or aura, as if springing forth from an empty void.

Klimt felt a sudden coldness creep up his spine. Every hair on his body stood on end as he instinctively leaped away from the figure to create distance.

The figure, seemingly unaffected by Klimt’s reaction, approached Shinto.

“You continue to act outside the plan and don’t send any reports. The Nakayama army has already left capital for Taikouzan. If things continue like this, the time and resources invested in Mount Ganzan will be wasted. And when I came to see what’s happening here…”

There was no anger in that voice. No contempt, no mockery, no irritation. Just utter calm and composure. There was no apparent malice towards Klimt either.

Yet, why did Klimt feel such a spine-chilling fear?

“I never expected to see a user of the Nanashiki technique on his knees before someone young enough to be his own child. I’ll ask you again, Shinto. What are you doing?”

In Klimt’s line of sight, Shinto, now without his mask, was trembling in fear, his complexion pale.

His quivering lips uttered the name of the figure.

“Master Utsurui, I…I was… The Mitsurugi family… The one named Klimt there…”

Stammering, Shinto tried to explain himself. The man named Utsurui sighed softly.

Perhaps deducing that Shinto’s explanations were fruitless, Utsurui slowly turned his gaze towards Klimt.

It was then that Klimt truly saw Utsurui’s face.

Silver hair and beard, a face etched deeply with the lines of life. By any estimation, the man was well over fifty. However, there was no sign of frailty in his lively features.

Without taking any stance, the elder man looked at Klimt, then at the Soul Equipment in Klimt’s hand, and calmly introduced himself.

“I am Utsurui, the one who leads the Taikouzan clan. Remember this face, young Greenwood Banner warrior.”

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