As we moved to Kuon's mansion, the preparations for duels were already done there.
Kensuke: Now that was a quick reaction...
Kichou: I went ahead... well, how about you do your best?
Kensuke: Now that's some thorny cheer.
Kichou: Of course, what did you expect?
Kensuke: That's true. You haven't acknowledged me yet, so this is to be expected.
Kichou: ...Are you trying to suck up to me by being modest? I won't fall for that.
Kensuke: I'm not trying to... I just accept reality and trying my best.
I took my katana from someone that looked like a handmaiden and stepped forward.
Kensuke: No matter how many words I say, my actions matter more. Speaking with my back is the best way to make others understand me.
Kensuke: So, you can doubt me and be hostile... but don't look away. #Rather than his back, he'll need to speak with his injuries with her#
Kichou: ...Yeah. I'll watch closely.
Kensuke: Thanks. After hearing your words, I'll do more than all I can.
Kuon: Contestants, get to your positions!
Wakana: Now's your last chance to apologize! #For what? He didn't even do anything bad yet#
Kensuke: Why do I need to apologie?
Wakana: Because there's no way you can beat me, of course! #Pff. You're like the second weakest opponent here#
Wakana: Black horo squad leader, also known as Oda assault captain, Sassa Kuranosuke Wakana Narimasa!
Kensuke: Nitta Kensuke. #Black and red horo squads are Oda clan's elites#
Wakana: Hehe, I acknowledge your courage at least! #I'm not quite sure if she's a leader or member of that squad#
Kensuke: Guess I'll thank you for that. So, what is your weapon? Katana? Or your fists?
Wakana: Don't be surprised when you see it! Hey, monkey! Bring my spear! #Good choice of weapon#
Girl: Y, yes! #The irony when this girl is more important than anyone else here#
A girl she called a monkey, brought something like a spear.
Wakana: Don't think it's a regular spear! This spear is a mechanical rifle spear made by Kunitomo Ikkansai!
Kensuke: Rifle, isn't that cheating?! #And she was dumb enough to reveal that#
Wakana: Hehe. Don't expect to win against me and this spear with a regular katana!
Kensuke: Hey, Kuon! Say something! Rifle is clearly out of question!
Kuon: Really? #Well... this duel just went potentially lethal#
Kensuke: Eeeh?! It's out on so many levels!
Wakana: I'll take you out with one shot! Soryaaaa! #So, which part of this girl hates underhanded methods?#
Kensuke: Whoa?! That was close, you know?! #Or is it because she uses it like an idiot?#
Bullet shot out of the spear tip raised a cloud of dust around two centimeters away from the thumb of my foot.
Kensuke: S, shooting right away, just how is this... wait, what are you doing?
Just as I was about to protest that this is definitely not a brawl, she looked into the tip of her spear and took out some kind of rod.
Wakana: Hmm, well, I shot once, so I need to clean inside the barrel and change gundpowder. Nn... nn...
Kensuke: ... #Yeah#
Wakana: Aaah! I spilled the gunpowder! What are you doing! #This is basically a last resort surprise attack feature#
Kensuke: Good! Now you can't shoot anymore! #And she revealed it herself and used it right away#
Wakana: Gununu! That's cowardly! #Nice spear though. Not as nice as Goutenhou though#
Kensuke: Are you the one to talk?!
This is a kind of a duel! Projectiles are supposed to be the greatest kind of cowardise here!
Kensuke: I'll settle it while I can!
I leaped forward to get this Wakana girl into my range.
Wakana: Damn, don't expect me to let you approach me!
Wakana made a quick thrust at me, trying to stop me, as I tried to approach her.
Kensuke: Kuh... she's actually pretty strong...!
Even the thrust speed aside, she calculated the bending of the spear, aiming at my vitals.
Kensuke: (She's familiar with fighting against katanas... this is tough)
I evaluated her strength, avoiding her spear thrusts somehow.
Kensuke: (But... it's quite rough. Unpolished technique is not scary)
Fear... or rather, primal terror. She is definitely strong, but I didn't feel the overwhelming proficiency in her attacks.
Kensuke: (This is nothing, compared to Ren-neesan's level. I should be able to take advantage of this...!)
Wakana: Soryaaaa! #If he can fight Ren...#
As she thrusted her spear with a warcry, I slammed it aside with the back of my katana.
Since her spear was heavy, slamming it from the side made Wakana lose her balance for a moment.
Leaping three or four steps towards her, I elbowed Wakana from below.
As I hit the bottom of her ribs, I put even more strength into my left elbow, sending Wakana's delicate-looking body flying.
After making her fly with a warcry, I turned her around mid-air and punched her stomach with my right hand holding a katana.
Letting out a scream, Wakana fainted. #Mid-air combo...#
Kensuke: Sorry for being rough... but, it was really dangerous... #She was seriously trying to kill him, so that's only normal#
Apologizing to the fainted Wakana, I gently put her on the ground, making sure she won't hit her head.
Kensuke: Whew... I haven't expected fighting a rifle... but that ends the first battle.
Three: ... #Yeah, he even caught her mid-air after punching her stomach...#
Kuon: Right! Good display of skill! #He fought oni yesterday, so why were they surprised?#
Kensuke: I appreciate the praise, but I wish you told me that anything goes from the start...
Kuon: It's your own fault for not asking.
Kensuke: ...Fair point.
Sure, it's my fault for not asking, but my life is on the line here, so I wish she was a bit more, like. Concerned.
As I was thinking that, a single girl stepped in front of me.
Hina: It's Hina's turn next... But, if Wakana-chin lost, I doubt Hina can win. #I'm pretty sure she's stronger than Wakana#
Mitsuki: Stop complaining and fight already.
Hina: Boo... you're as scary as ever, Mitsuki-sama.
Kensuke: Umm... so, you're next then?
Hina: Yes, yes. I've observed your fight with Wakana-chin. You're pretty strong, Onii-san.
Kensuke: Thanks for the praise.
Hina: I believe I would lose if I fight normally, so Hina will get a bit serious.
Saying that, she drawn swords from both sides. #Duals, huh#
Kensuke: (...What? Something feels weird...)
That Hina girl was holding kodachi in both hands. She seems to have fewer openings than Wakana, so she's probably more cautious.
Kensuke: (But, her weapons are kodachi. It's reach is lower than the blade that I have... so how is she planning to attack, I wonder)
As I was thinking if it's best to wait for her move or make a move first, a white mist surrounded Hina.
Kensuke: What's that... ah!
That's ki that Nagi-neechan uses a lot! As I was thinking that, Hina disappeared from my sight.
Kensuke: Wha...?! Behind me?! #I think that's Shishun's move from Otome Taisen#
I jumped away, feeling bloodlust behind me. #So, basically, assassin, but also quite immature one#
Hina: Oh my, I missed... #Assassin letting out bloodlust is a fail#
Kensuke: J, just what was that...
She got behind me in a flash. And without making any sound too.
Kensuke: Is it some sort of movement technique...?
I believe Minmei-oneechan mentioned that this is possible using ki-based movement techniques.
Hina: Well then, here comes another one!
I readied my sword and focused, searching for presence around me.
Kensuke: Behind me!
Kensuke: Whew, I hit her somehow... but, what's with this technique?!
Hina: This it Takigawa clan's technique, Move Your Legs Fast Like Crazy To Move Fast no Jutsu.
Mitsuki: Idiot. Takigawa clan technique, Blue Swallow Flash Step. #I liked her version more, it was hilarious#
Hina: Fufufu, yeah, that. #I like this girl#
Kensuke: Clan technique, huh... is it some sort of magic...
Kuon: You can think of it as of some secret technique passed down in the family.
Kensuke: I see. Like a special attack.
I gotta say, this doesn't feel very historically accurate. #What are you talking about, after seeing oni?#
Kensuke: (...Well, I said historically accurate, but it's not like anyone personally witnessed it and can confirm, so this could've been too... I think)
Kensuke: Okay. Let's resume, now that I know about this technique.
Hina: Then, once again, here I come!
Kuon: ...So, what are you going to do against invisible opponent, Kensuke?
Kensuke: It's not like she completely disappeared, so I'll manage...
Hina: Kensuke-kun, brace yourself...! #Kun? Isn't that the first time in Koihime series?#
Kensuke: Yoh! Toh.
Hina: Aah! I can't hit him! #Maybe if you kept quiet instead of announcing yourself...#
Lamenting, Hina disappeared once again.
Preparing for next attack, I untied my sheath, holding it in one hand. So I was dual-wielding my katana and its sheath.
Sound and situation around me. And Hina's bloodlust... or whatever you call that pressure... I focused, trying to keep track of it.
Feeling the change behind me, I turned around, making a side swing with the sheath in my left hand.
Kensuke: Oh, got her.
Hina: Kyuuuh... #It's so hard to resist mistyping her as "Hinari"#
Kensuke: Good. Second one cleared...
Kuon: Hmm... well done winning against someone you can't see... how did you know she's there?
Kensuke: She's quite a honest girl. Her bloodlust kept appearing behind me. Other than that... intuiton, I guess?
Kuon: Rather than honest, she probably just doesn't think... even though she originated from Koga clan.
Kensuke: Hee. So, who's next? #Enjoying mowing through the elites?#
Kuon: Fufu. You sound confident.
Kensuke: Not really. I'm really tired.
Unfamiliar weapons and techniques... and I thought I'm quite used to it, because I had absurd people around me all the time.
Wanko: Then, it's Wanko's turn next! Is it okay, Kuon-sama?! #Time for a breather#
Kuon: I approve. Don't hold back.
Wanko: Yay! Hehe, Oda red horo squad leader, Maeda Motazaemon Toshiie, also known as Wanko, will be Kensuke-dono's opponent!
Kensuke: Nitta Kensuke. Pleased to meet you. #Oh, right, Maeda Toshiie and Maeda Keiji are different#
Mitsuki: Well then, to arms!
Wanko: Kyuuu... #Well... that was anticlimatic#
Mitsuki: Nitta Kensuke wins!
Kuon: That's three cleared... I knew you're pretty good, but this is... you're strong, Kensuke.
Kensuke: I just barely managed somehow. Just got lucky. #If she wasn't expecting him to win, why pit him against lethal people?#
Kuon: That's just how battles go. And people that can win those battles are truly strong... too much modesty sounds like sarcasm, you know?
Kensuke: I wasn't trying to sound that way... so, what next?
Mugiho: I'll face you next. #Easymode is over#
Kensuke: Mugiho-san, huh...
I got more cautious after seeing Mugiho-san's calm and unaggressive attitude.
Mitsuki: Hmm... so he has seen through Mugiho's skill at the first glance.
Hina: She might look gentle, but Mugiho-sama is strong. Hina haven't won against her even once. #I use "haven't" here, since third person here means "I"#
Wakana: Mugiho-sama, please avenge me!
Wanko: Do it for Wanko too, while you're at it! #But sometimes I forget, and just go third person#
After responding to the outfield cheers with a pleasant smile, Mugiho went back to making a serious face.
Tension was slowly increasing. As if the time stopped, Mugiho and I were observing each other without even moving.
Make the first move. Or let the opponent make it and respond.
Thinking too much slows down the body. But if I were to prioritize moving my body, I won't be able to fight smart.
This battle will end in a flash, unless I focus on both of those at the same time... is what I was thinking.
Kensuke: (Ah... crap...)
I lost that balance for a moment. The moment I thought so, Mugiho-san made her move.
Letting out a short, but spirited cry, Mugiho-san leaped, got closer as if sliding towards me and made a flowing thrust.
Moving sideways at the last moment, I barely dodged it, but...
She kept sending attacks at me, letting out a soft, but sharp cry.
Horizontal slash, attack from the upper-right, rising slash from below.
Vertical attack, another slash from the side, and then a thrust, changing the rhythm.
Kensuke: At this rate...! #Is she an Assassin from FSN?#
I'm already tired from the previous three fights, so, at this rate, I'll run out of stamina and get crushed by Mugiho-san.
Kensuke: (I'll have to take my chances...!)
Barely dodging a surprisingly wide slash, I rotated my body and attacked the side of Mugiho-san's head.
No. I only tried to. But...
Mugiho: I've predicted that attack.
It was an attack I was quite confident in, but Mugiho-san easily parried it.
Kensuke: ...You moved your sword back at absurd speed.
For being able to parry that attack... I praised Mugiho-san, resisting feeling astonished. That's how confident I was in that blow.
Mugiho: Consider all possibilities and prepare against them... that's exactly what I'm good at.
Kensuke: So that's what you meant by predicting my attack... this is quite challenging then.
A course of actions that goes after a different course of actions. Predict the most probable pattern and prepare means against it.
I don't know if she can really do that, but in fact, I can't land a hit on Mugiho-san.
Kensuke: Hmm... how should I attack her...
Looking at Mugiho-san, I could see that her stance is imperturbable. It felt so natural, it didn't seem like she's holding a sword. No way she'd make an opening.
Kensuke: ...I guess... that's my only option. #Don't do it! Just lose... or you'll face Mitsuki next#
But that's a double-edged sword. I might be able to win this battle, but the damage I'll take from that will backfire later.
Kensuke: But I don't really want to lose. If I can, I want to win... I'll have to do it!
Now that it's decided, I'll make my move! #This thing he's trying scared me the first time I saw it#
Mugiho: I predicted that course of actions as well, Kensuke-dono!
As I shortened the distance at once, Mugiho-san released a sharp blow at me!
Kensuke: Not good enough!
Barely dodging the fine slash that almost landed on my shoulder, I moved sideways from Mugiho-san and launched that attack.
Mugiho: Hya?! #Goddamnit. Did you learn that from Kazuto?#
Mugiho: Kya... kyaaaaaaaaa!!!! #Cuz it's a shortest route towards stigma of a pervert#
Kensuke: ...An opening.
Kensuke: Good. That makes it my victory... #Yeah, but your reputation took some damage indeed#
Wakana: Uwaaaaa! He's the worst!
Hina: What a horrible man. Hina need to be careful, or I'll get pregnant. #What are you worried about? You're wearing chest armor#
Wanko: Enemy of all women! Lustful man! Pervert! #This girl is not even angry, she's just joining the fun#
Kensuke: No, no, no! Y, you see, that was the only way to make Mugiho-san create an opening, it was my only option!
Kuon: You're an enemy of all women. #You're the one that made him fight "all women"#
Kensuke: Au... sorry...
After all the verbal abuse, even I felt disheartened. I should seal this technique after all...!
Mugiho: Kensuke-dono... I'll have you take responsibility... #Like, marry her? I don't see why not#
Kensuke: Aaaaah, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, don't cry... #Or does she mean seppuku?#
I was trying to soothe her, but I gotta admit, Mugiho-san is older than me, and seeing her with watery eyes was really cute! But I'll keep it a secret.
Kensuke: I'm sorry. I'll do anything as an apology later, so cheer up.
Kensuke: I promise.
Mugiho: Then... I'll forgive you. #Good thing they don't hold the grudges for the WHOLE FREAKING GAME#
Wiping off her tears, Mugiho-san left somewhat reluctantly. #Still, that almost gave me a heart attack#
Kuon: Hmm... he defeated four people. With this, everyone will have to acknowledge Kensuke's strength... right, Mitsuki?
Mitsuki: I'm not so sure about that... monkey! #Mugiho was hard. This is simply unwinnable#
Girl: Y, yes!
Mitsuki: Give me my weapon.
Girl: Yes, right away! #I like her voice. And I believe it's Chiho's#
Giving a cheerful reply, that girl pulled a huge wheel cart.
On it was a gigantic axe I haven't seen or heard of before.
With a light breath, Mitsuki-san picked that axe up from the cart.
Kensuke: This is not okay!
Kensuke: What is that?! How can you casually wield that giant axe while humming "okay"?!
Mitsuki: It's my problem. Got a problem? #Other than you being a broken overpowered character?#
Kensuke: It's not exactly a complaint, but...!
I was completely dazed. Actually, won't I turn into a victim of splatter horror if I get hit by this giant of an axe?!
Kensuke: That's clearly not something people use for fighting... just how many kilos does this weight...
Mitsuki: Stop mumbling already. I'm showing respect to you by taking out my Shibata clan's treasured axe, Kongo Punisher. Feel honored.
Kensuke: I'm so honored... I'm about to pee my pants. #Basically, normal human vs anime logic character#
Kensuke: Can you really use something this huge? #Would be amusing if it's actually made of light plastic#
Mitsuki: Don't underestimate me.
With a swing, Mitsuki-san's axe made a sound similar to the sound drums or bass guitar would make at a live concert.
Accompanied with a wind pressure I barely managed to stand in. #You know those unwinnable boss battles in RPG? This is one of them#
Kuon: No problem. #Sure, you're not the one fighting#
Kensuke: There's way too many problems! #How are weaker girls, like Wakana, still alive anyway?#
Kuon: Hmm. Then, do you want to change your weapon too? #Yeah. Got a shotgun? Though against Mitsuki... bazooka will do better#
Katana has advantage against a regular axe, but both in reach and weight, this axe is obviously not an ordinary one.
Kensuke: Yeah, a spear or something would've been better... but, whatever. I'll stick with this one.
Kensuke: It's the weapon I'm most used to... and the size of weapon doesn't always decide the match.
Mitsuki: Heh, that's the spirit. Shibata Gonroku Mitsuki Katsuie will fight you seriously!
Kensuke: Ah, no, there's no need to get that serious against me... #Objective: SURVIVE#
Mitsuki: Don't worry. I'll fight you seriously. #Epic troll#
Kensuke: Umm, you have advantage in weapon, so you could hold back at least a bit...
Mitsuki: It's okay. I'll fight you seriously.
Kensuke: Are you seriously trying to kill me? #That's quite stupid of her, but still hilarious#
Mitsuki: No problem. I'll fight you seriously. #How is it that Oda faction still has vassals alive?#
Kensuke: There's way too many problems!
Kensuke: ...Wha! Are you going to even use ki here?!
I made distance to avoid Mitsuki-san's ki. But...
Mitsuki: Here I come, brat!
Mitsuki: Hmm... how pathetic, he fainted, and I only used half of my strength. #HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAX!!#
Kuon: Idiot. It's impressive he's still in one piece after taking your blow.
Mitsuki: That might be true... he leaped away at the moment I attacked and he blocked the center of his body with his sword tightly. He's quite good.
Kuon: Right. Quite strong, right?
Mitsuki: I acknowledge him... how about everyone else?
Mugiho: I acknowledged him to begin with. #Good girl#
Hina: Hina have no objective either. #So, not going to comment on why? But, okay#
Wakana: Tsk. If Mitsuki-sama says so, I'll also acknowledge him. #Think with your own head! What was the point of all this otherwise?#
Wanko: Wanko, you see, after fighting him, I figured out he's quite a gentle person, so I approve!
Wakana: What's with that. Sense of smell?
Wanko: That's right. Wanko's sense of smell is pretty accurate. #Good girl, actually paid attention to who you're fighting#
Mitsuki: ...You've heard them.
Kuon: Okay. It's settled then... Yuina, are you okay with that too?
Kichou: I still... can't acknowledge him.
Kuon: I see... can't be helped then. I promised to let you see for yourself to begin with. Do as you please.
Wakana: But, my lord. Are you seriously making him your husband?
Kuon: Seriously... but, does something bother you?
Wakana: Well, even if it's to avoid political marriage from other factions, lord is cute, so I'm worried he might pull something bad.
Kuon: I don't think he can handle me. #Don't even start. How about NOT considering every male a pervert?#
Wanko: Well, it's a young man and woman we're talking about.
Kuon: If that happens, I don't mind making him my real husband. I'm resolved enough for that.
Kichou: N, nothing... fuh!
Mitsuki: Well, let's ignore Yuina-sama's sulking for now. #I like you. You're scary, but I like you#
Kichou: Hey, Mitsuki!
Kuon: Drop it already.
Mugiho: What should we do with Kensuke-dono? I'm okay if you just keep him as a husband, but those that don'r work don't eat.
Mugiho: We should give him some kind of role. #So he'll be the officer after all? What was the point of all this then?#
Kuon: I have an idea, but... #Though, yeah, protag shouldn't be useless#
Girl: Lord! Sakuma-sama's force just returned from Sunomata!
Kuon: I see... hey, monkey!
Girl: Y, yes?!
Kuon: It's about time for you to become a warrior. Work under Kensuke and raise a name for yourself.
Girl: Eh?! T, then, I ... #And so Kensuke subfaction is born#
Kuon: Right. You're no longer an errand girl, starting today, you're warrior. #And most of the game focuses on Kensuke squad...#
Girl: Y, yes, thank you! #Welcome to the squad that actually kicks ass, unlike Kazuto squad#
Kuon: Right. Work hard as a first member of Kensuke squad. Nurse Kensuke back to senses first. When he wakes up, come by the castle. I'll give orders.
Girl: Yes! #And third member will join soon, a Tanpopo clone#
Kuon: With this, metting around Kensuke is over! You're all dismissed, await news from Sunomata.
Everyone: Your will!