Interlude: My Own Style

That day, the unit where Jin found sanctuary—the warrior clan of the phantom burial—was attacked by monsters.

It happened on the very day they were to join forces with the Kamuna clan, a perfect surprise attack slipping through the gaps in the lookout’s vigilance.

If one were to defend the sentries, it was not because they were negligent. The attack came just after dawn.

It was the moment when the guards, who had been on high alert for a night raid, unwittingly let their guard down, believing they had safely made it through the night. The enemy struck in that instant of vulnerability, from a direction that was a blind spot for humans—straight from above.

“Enemy raid! Griffins!”

Startled by the scream-like report, Jin leapt up, gripping the scabbard of Sasayuki, which he had kept with him even while sleeping, and quickly dashed outside the tent.

Immediately following, the agonized scream of a lookout being torn apart by the griffin’s talons violently struck Jin’s eardrums.

Instinctively moving towards the sound, Jin saw a soldier with his guts spilling out from a wound and realized it was too late, stopping in his tracks.

The griffin, having made its kill, flapped its massive wings, ascending gracefully into the sky.

Drawn to look up, Jin saw a flock of griffins, too many to count at a glance. Illuminated by the sunlight from the east, their fur gleamed golden as they majestically soared above.

“…What a number.”

After muttering in disbelief, a small laugh escaped from deep within Jin’s throat.

These aerial beasts commonly lived on the high peaks of mountainous regions, rarely descending to human settlements. Jin had seen them from afar but had never actually fought one.

Yet, he knew the griffin was a formidable beast—a king among birds and beasts with the head and wings of an eagle and the body and claws of a lion, soaring freely through the sky and hunting prey on the ground.

Even by the most conservative estimate, more than fifty of these king-class beasts were in Jin’s view. It was difficult enough for Jin to contend with even one of them at his current strength. Laughter was the only response to such a situation.

Among the warriors, some shot arrows and others cast magic at the flock above, but most of the attacks fell short, and those that reached were deflected by the sturdy bodies of the beasts, leaving no injury.

And the griffins, having withstood the attacks, dove down with intimidating cries, slashing with their talons at those who had attacked them.

Hearing the continuous screams, Jin clicked his tongue in frustration.

“We need to drag them to the ground; otherwise, we’re just prey being hunted from above.”

Jin’s words voiced the inner thoughts of all the warriors engaged in battle.

However, Jin had no way to bring the flying beasts down to the ground, and even if he could somehow bring down all the griffins, their fangs and claws would undoubtedly demand a heavy toll in sacrifices.

In a moment like this, it was truly the time for a soul equipment user to shine—but just as Jin thought this…

“Hey, rookie! What are you dazing off for, you wanna die?!”

The one who addressed him with a shout was the head chef whom Jin called “Boss,” responsible for the kitchen.

Normally wearing a white head covering, his head was now donned with a dull, iron helmet gleaming in the light.

“Ah, Boss, you’re safe,” Jin responded.

“Of course, I am! You think I’d die in a place like this? You hurry up and get to the eastern forest. That monster won’t be able to find us there!”

Although the Boss said this, he himself was running in the opposite direction of east. It seemed that he was informing the newcomers, including Jin, of a place to escape to.

Jin hesitated momentarily, torn between escaping to the forest as he was told and staying to help the Boss allow the allies to flee.

He couldn’t afford to die in a place like this, not when his goal was to Boss soul equipment. On the other hand, he considered this a golden opportunity to graduate from peeling potatoes and establish his status within the ranks of the Phantom Blade Style warriors. If he exerted himself for his allies here, the higher-ups would surely acknowledge his deeds.

The time Jin spent in dilemma was brief, but the pressing situation didn’t wait for him to come to a conclusion.

One of the griffons in the sky let out a particularly shrill scream and began its descent.

Its target was not Jin, but the Boss. More precisely, it was the Boss’s iron helmet, now shining in the morning sun. The griffon had reacted to that shine.

Indeed, Jin thought somewhat leisurely, griffons, like dragons, had a habit of collecting shiny objects.

However, while his thoughts were relaxed, his body’s reaction was extremely quick.

Gripping the handle of Sasayuki, Jin took the stance of quick-draw sword technique.

The Boss continued to run, oblivious to the griffon’s approach. Even if Jin were to shout now, the Boss would not be able to dodge the attack from above.

Of course, the sword wasn’t within striking distance either.

But Jin understood this, and yet there was not the slightest delay or hesitation in his movements.

He took a small, deep breath.

Immediately after, magical energy began to swirl inside him. In the Nanashi Style, there are techniques that use magical energy called “Od,” including the Gero Prison.

Therefore, the art of manipulating Od was familiar to Jin.

in’s talent in the realm of magical power was indeed blooming, a fact acknowledged even by his brother Mitsurugi Kazuma—a celebrated rare genius within the Mitsurugi family—who admitted that Jin was better than himself.

Jin was about to release his magical power in a form different from the Nanashi Style.

It was his own unique swordsmanship, developed by Jin himself. He abandoned the Nanashi Style training given by his father and his older brother, seeking not a sword to slay Kijin but one to cut down Mythical Creatures— the fruit of Jin’s creativity and ingenuity.

He had not yet named this form as a style, but he had named it as a single technique.

That is to say…

“― Flying Strike ―”

As Jin uttered those words, Sasayuki was released from its sheath at the same time.

In the next moment, the blade of magical energy, splitting the wind and racing through the air, precisely caught the wing of the griffon that was about to pounce on its prey…


With terrifying sharpness, it deeply slashed through.

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