V2 Chapter 93: Utsurui vs Klimt

Facing the old man called Utsurui, who claimed to be the head of the Fangxiang family, Klimt clenched his molars, resisting the overwhelming presence of the opponent.

It wasn’t as if the other side was trying to intentionally intimidate Klimt. In fact, he hadn’t even drawn his sword.

Nonetheless, Klimt’s body felt as if it was weighed down by a lead armor. A chill, snake-like, crept up from his feet, coiling around his legs and refusing to let go.

Klimt had to admit that he was being overpowered by the old man before him. The difference in their strengths was clear, making him realize his defeat even before the battle began. This sensation was strikingly similar to what he felt when he faced his brother Dialt, or the family head of Mitsurugi, Shikibu.

For a split second, the image of a black-haired peer flashed in Klimt’s mind, but he grimaced, dispelling that phantom.

Seeing this, Utsurui must have thought Klimt was being wary of him. He began to speak in a neutral tone, devoid of any hostility.

“As a vassal of the Mitsurugi family, can you tell me why you ended up battling with Shinto? If Shinto has been rude, as the head, I will apologize.”


When Klimt remained silent, Utsurui continued calmly.

“If you intentionally confronted the Fangxiang clan, then I, as the head, shall fight you. But don’t assume that this novice’s sword skills are the essence of Nanashiki style. He may be talented, but among the Nanashiki users, he is the youngest and least experienced.”

Hearing this, Klimt instinctively frowned.

The exact age was unclear, but Shinto seemed to be clearly over thirty, probably closer to forty. If a swordsman of that age is considered the youngest and least experienced user, then the other Nanashiki users must be even older.

It takes twenty to thirty years to train a single swordsman. It would be difficult to have many swordsmen, like the eight banners from the Green Woods. Moreover, if they are in their thirties or forties by the time they master the Nanashiki, their active period as swordsmen would be limited.

Considering Shinto acted alone and the head, Utsurui, appeared by himself, Klimt deduced that the number of Nanashiki practitioners might be extremely limited. Perhaps there are only a handful, countable on one’s fingers. That was Klimt’s speculation.

Suddenly, Shinto, who seemed to have finally regained his composure, raised his voice.

“Lord Utsurui, please wait! You mustn’t pay heed to the words of such a novice!”

With that exclamation, Shinto began explaining his strategy to Utsurui.

Upon hearing about Shinto’s plot to lure the Nakayama army with the rebellion in Mount Ganzan and then have them attacked from behind by the Mitsurugi family, Utsurui subtly raised an eyebrow in a direction where no one else could see.

The information that the Fangxiang clan and the Light god temple were in league with the Mitsurugi family was an utmost secret. If it got out, they would have to immediately eliminate the informant.

Even though those present already knew of the secret connection, given the possibility that soldiers from Mount Ganzan might come upon hearing the sounds of battle, Shinto’s actions could only be described as reckless.

By this point, Utsurui’s judgment had largely tilted in one direction. However, he refrained from acting immediately, needing to ascertain Klimt’s stance as a warrior of the Green Woods flag.

No matter his status as the head of the Fangxiang family, Utsurui could not just execute a Green Woods flagbearer at will. The Mitsurugi family’s significance to the Light got temple was substantial.

But, having heard Shinto’s explanation, Utsurui realized he had wasted his time. Shinto was fundamentally mistaken.


“…Excuse me?”

“The connection with us is a secret passed down only to the head of the Mitsurugi family. It’s not something to be casually shared with subordinates. Especially, there’s not a chance that the Shikibu would disclose such a secret to a young man like him.”

Utsurui’s pointed remark made Shinto blink in bewilderment.

After a moment, he replied in a flustered tone. “But, Klimt is here! Considering that a Green Woods flagbearer would come to Taikouzan during the Mount Ganzan rebellion, it’s too much of a coincidence. It must be Shikibu’s orders!”

“It might not be a mere coincidence. Probably, the Shikibu’s intent was somehow involved. But that doesn’t require disclosing the secret. Reflect, Shinto. Did this young man’s words and actions truly suggest he knew of the secret?”

Challenged thus, Shinto instinctively opened his mouth, but no words came out. Perhaps in hindsight, there were moments when he had found Klimt’s behavior odd.

Seeing Shinto’s reaction, Utsurui sighed softly. Knowing Shinto’s strong need for affirmation, Utsurui could almost perfectly deduce what had transpired on Taikouzan. He also discerned that Klimt’s actions were not based on the orders of the Mitsurugi family.

Utsurui, fixing his gaze on Shinto, continued.

“Blinded by an unfounded sense of superiority, you spoke carelessly and divulged the secret. On top of that, you fall short in swordsmanship. Your rash actions, Shinto, could have been the single flaw that jeopardized our grand vision. Since when did you think you had the authority to act on behalf of the Mitsurugi family on your own accord?”

“I-I, Lord Utsurui, was just carrying out orders…!”

“I did instruct you to lead the remnants of Mount Ganzan. But I don’t recall granting you the authority to go “outside” without permission. Especially not the authority to mobilize the Mitsurugi family without the Holy One’s blessing. It seems I indulged you too much, being impressed with your talent for mastering the Nanashiki style before turning forty.”

With Utsurui calmly reprimanding him, Shinto trembled. Sweat streamed down his forehead like a waterfall, and his ragged breathing echoed in the night.

To an observer, seeing a man nearing his forties reduced to a cowering child, the scene would be incredibly comical.

But Klimt did not laugh. He couldn’t. No matter how calmly Utsurui spoke, the blade-like pressure embedded within his words was unmistakable. Even as a mere listener, Klimt found cold sweat forming all over his body.

When did he draw it? In Utsurui’s hand was a sword, radiating a cold brilliance.

The moment Klimt noticed, a dull thud resounded, and Shinto’s head rolled onto the floor.

Utsurui, who decapitated Shinto without even a flourish of his blade, did not spare a glance at the severed head and turned his attention to Klimt.

Being pierced by those deep, dark eyes that seemed to condense the night’s shadows, Klimt reflexively readied his soul equipment.



It felt as though he was being gripped by an invisible giant hand. His entire body was tightly constricted. Neither hand nor foot could move, and he couldn’t even breathe, such was the immense pressure he felt.

Immediately after, the Kurikara sword Klimt held in his hand seemed to melt and vanish into thin air. His Kei, which sustained the drawn state of his sword, had been sealed.

It was clear that this was a technique of Utsurui.

Even if it was the same technique, the precision, density, and intensity differed from Shinto’s. Klimt, with his Kei perfectly sealed, couldn’t even use the most basic Kei techniques.

Yet, even if Klimt could use his full strength, he probably couldn’t have blocked the next move from Utsurui.

With speed reminiscent of the wind, Utsurui closed the distance between them and swung his blade. No malice, no battle intent, no bubbling surge of Kei—just a sword of nothingness. Yet, it felt impossible to block or dodge.

“Nanashiki Zenith Slash, Reversal.”

The moment Utsurui’s voice reached him, Klimt envisioned his own head flying off. Reflexively, he used his right arm to protect his neck, else that vision would have undoubtedly become a reality.

Utsurui’s slash, swift as a flash of light, cleaved through the night, taking Klimt with it.

Only a moment later, a spray of blood painted the floor red. The source was Klimt’s severed right arm.


Until that moment, Lan and Yamato, who had been holding their breath, ensuring they didn’t disturb Klimt, let out simultaneous cries of horror.

As for Klimt, even without the leisure to respond to the two, he backed away from Utsurui while clutching the bleeding stump where his right arm once was. Even if he managed to put some distance between them now, there was no escaping the old man before him. Still, enduring the intense pain, Klimt sought a way out. Remarkably, not even a cry of pain escaped him.

Seeing this, Utsurui spoke quietly.

“To sacrifice an arm to save your neck from my blade is evident of your valor, yet not many swordsmen would follow through without hesitation. Your courage, despite your youth, is commendable.”

“…Is that meant to be a compliment?”

For the first time, a hint of a smile flashed across Utsurui’s face.

“I don’t hate the fierce spirit that drives you to talk back even now. Klimt, was it? Do you have any last words? If so, speak now. I’ll pass it on to Shikibu, and ensure your family receives your final wishes.”

“Heh… You’re too kind…”

For a moment, the face of his sister flashed across Klimt’s mind, but he pushed it away with determination. He couldn’t deny that Utsurui’s offer had shaken him, but his pride would never let him beg mercy from his killer.

And he didn’t believe for a second that a man who could casually dispose of his own subordinates would honor the promise made to an enemy like Klimt.

Accepting Klimt’s reply without any apparent annoyance, Utsurui simply nodded.

“Then the least I can do is ensure you don’t suffer any longer.”

With a brief farewell, Utsurui approached Klimt and swung his blade down – or at least, attempted to.

But the blade was halted mid-air, just before it could sever Klimt’s neck.

It was Lan who had intervened, trying to stop Utsurui’s blade with her own body.

Utsurui raised his right eyebrow as he looked at Lan, a trace of confusion on his face.

As the leader of the Fangxiang clan, Utsurui naturally had no qualms about slaying a Kijin. However, he had no particular interest in slaying a young girl, especially one not even trained as a swordsman.

“Step back. Otherwise, I’ll cut you down first.”

“I won’t move!”

Lan instantly rebuffed Utsurui’s warning. Her stance wasn’t particularly defiant. Her legs were shaking, and her eyes, desperately trying to meet Utsurui’s, were filled with fear. Yet, she did not budge from her position.

“This man is not a believer of the Light god faith. He’s a human swordsman, one of those responsible for betraying your Kijin kind and imprisoning you in the demon realm three hundred years ago.”

“Even so, Klimt protected my brother and me! He defended us from you and the Light god Temple! We, the royal family of Mount Ganzan, never forget our debts!”

Upon hearing Lan’s impassioned plea, Utsurui let out a small sigh, realizing the futility of persuasion.

In any case, both siblings were targets due to their knowledge of the secret matters. Utsurui had considered taking them to the main temple of the Light god Temple and handing them over to the Pope. However, seeing their deep-seated aversion to the Light god Temple, he doubted they’d willingly follow him.

Utsurui inwardly cursed Shinto’s lack of foresight. He felt vexed by his own misfortune of not having reliable subordinates. In this regard, he even found himself envious of Shikibu, who seemed to have an abundance of promising young talents at his disposal.

Regardless, there was a clear course of action to take at this juncture. If the Ganzan royal family was determined to repay their debt unto death, Utsurui, as the leader of the Fangxiang clan, would simply have to do what must be done.

“Very well. If you wish to die repaying that debt, then so be it, Princess of Ganzan.”

As Utsurui attempted to cut down Lan’s slender neck, something unexpected happened.

Suddenly, Utsurui leaped backward with impressive agility. The very next moment, a projectile that was essentially a small stone, but propelled with immense skill and power, tore through the space where Utsurui’s head had just been.

Such a stone, when launched with sufficient technique and energy, could easily shatter a human body. Had Utsurui not dodged, the stone would have crushed his skull.

The projectile relentlessly targeted Utsurui, launching at him two, three times in quick succession. Each time, Utsurui evaded by jumping back.

As a result, the distance between Utsurui and Lan widened significantly. Seemingly content with the distance created, the assault of projectiles ceased.

Completely bewildered by what had just transpired, Lan’s gaze eventually settled on a young boy standing between her and Utsurui.

With disheveled gray hair and a bronzed skin tone, his eyes shimmered fiercely with combative intent, and from his forehead protruded a single horn pointing skyward.

The youthful and spirited boy wore a black war robe, signifying his affiliation with the Nakayama army.

“…Black Wolf Kagari. You made it here faster than I expected.”

Upon hearing Utsurui’s remark, the Kijin boy – Kagari, flashed a confident, defiant grin.

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