Author: alyalia

Luize took his hand and got off his horse. Now, she’s used to this kind of escort. She really had changed from before, both in body and mind.


Maxion took her straight to the private training ground. It was a place that he and Edward used personally. Nearby there was the annex where Maxion stayed.


“I have to report it to Lord Edward.”


“Okay. Ah, do you have any spare training clothes?”


“…It must be difficult to lift the sword like that.”


“Yes. I don’t have any clothes in my mansion that can be used as practice uniforms anyway.”


“That, Maxion.”




“Be honest with me. The reason you asked me to hold the sword must be for another purpose.”


“…That’s right.”


Luize looked around the empty training ground. It wasn’t a big place, but it was used often and was well-maintained.


“You really want me to teach that person how to use a sword?”


“That person is someone who can keep your secret.”


“I think the only person you can refer to by that is the grand duke. Is that right?”




“I don’t know what’s going on, but if he’s good enough to come back from Perils alive, I don’t think there’s a need to worry…”


As she spoke, Edward, lying injured, came to Luize’s mind. After treating him, she found that his wound wasn’t as deep as expected. Still, if it had been left as it was, it was a wound that could have put his life in danger due to hypothermia and severe bleeding.


It was clear that someone was threatening Edward’s life. She didn’t know what would happen if he got hurt like that again. Thinking about it that way, she got worried about leaving him as he was.


“The grand duke said in reply that he wanted to see you as soon as possible, so if it’s okay with you today, I’ll tell him to meet you at the training ground at sunset. He has something to give, so I’ll help him.”


“Something to give?”




Maxion turned around. As soon as he took a step, Luize grabbed his wrist.


Ah, wait a moment.”


Maxion looked back at Luize with a puzzled face. Luize slightly curved the corners of her lips and said, “Let’s do this. Just like you turned a blind eye even though you knew the grand duke was deceiving me, join in on my prank.”






Luize smiled and whispered the plan to Maxion.


* * *

“You brought the swordsmanship teacher?”




Edward put down the book he was reading and looked at Maxion. He continued speaking with a puzzled look on his face. “I heard that you came back with someone else. Was that person the swordsmanship teacher?”


“Yes. That person wants to meet you at the training ground at sunset.”


“I see. What about Miss Luize’s reply?”


“She said she will give it to you soon.”




Edward was about to open the book again. It was then that Maxion hastily opened his mouth. “Ah, Lord Edward. Do you mind if I borrow something?”


“I told you before that you could use whatever you want in this mansion. Did you forget that?”


“I think it’s a bit of a personal item…”


“What is it?”


“A mask.”




Edward looked at Maxion with a puzzled look. Maxion nodded silently. He, who had been seeing Edward for quite some time, replied. Ah, um. And.”




“I respect you.”




“Goodbye then.”




Maxion turned around without saying much. Edward seemed to have misunderstood something, but there was no need to ask him further since the truth would become clear by the evening anyway.


* * *

Luize walked out of the warehouse.  She was dressed in men’s comfortable trousers and shirts. Her hair that was straightened up was tied into one.


Maxion, dressed in the same outfit, approached Luize. “As expected, it’s a little big.”


“It’s okay because I’m wearing it folded. It’s better than using a dress like that.”


“Next time, I will prepare clothes that fit your size.”




Maxion handed Luize a wooden sword. Luize smiled as she took the sword. “It feels like when we were young.”


“That’s what I thought too. But will it be okay with a wooden sword?”


“First of all, I’m going to focus on warming up.”


Luize grabbed the sword and drew it sideways. Maxion slowly swallowed his saliva at the sight of such a movement. As expected, it was a neat movement without any unnecessary elements.  Even a simple wooden sword could become a scary weapon, depending on the person holding it. For example, Luize, Luize, or Luize.


“Shall we get started?”


Luize got excited and jumped at Maxion. He urgently blocked Luize’s sword with the wooden sword he was holding. She quickly turned left and aimed for his shoulder. Maxion took a few steps back diagonally.


“…How long has it been since you last held the sword?”


“Well, I think it’s been about four years.”




“I’m looking forward to it since you’ve been at Perils for quite some time. You won’t disappoint me, right?”


“I’m not confident,” Maxion answered honestly.


This time, it was Maxion’s counterattack. As they exchanged counterattacks and clashed their swords a few times, the smile disappeared from Luize’s face.


Maxion has definitely improved from the time he spent time with her. Their physical differences also became greater than before. Due to the heavy power transmitted through the sword, Luize thought that he had become much more skilled in swordsmanship than before. But that was it.


The two exchanged swords nonstop for half a day. Despite her long absence, Maxion was once again impressed by Luize’s skills as she moved around like she was playing with him. She was a little hesitant, but that was only at the first hour. From then on, she was busy pushing him just like before. She was exactly the same Luize he knew.




Luize laid down her sword and opened her mouth. Maxion followed her and sheathed his sword. It was after lunchtime in the afternoon when she arrived at the mansion. The sun was slowly setting.


Luize continued as she strapped the wooden sword to her waist. “You’ve improved a lot.”




“But it’s not enough to last a year at Perils. Even if I exclude the time coming and going, you have stayed there for ten months.”




“Did someone protect you?”




“Is it true that you went to the forest?”




“The forest has become strange.” Luize put on a serious face.


Maxion nodded his head slowly. “I think so.”




She looked at the sky, which was turning red, with a blank face. It was she who first turned her back on the forest. Returning now wouldn’t restore the forest to its original state. Maybe it could have been solved if she had been there from the beginning. But the change has already begun. She could only hope it wasn’t the start of a new tragedy.


Luize reached out to Maxion. “Give me the mask.”


“Yes.” Maxion headed to the warehouse to pick up the mask.


Luize stood still, looking at his back. After sweating in comfortable clothes for the first time in a long time, she felt empty inside, as if everything that had happened up until now was a lie.


The wind blew. She felt good about the coolness she felt after a long time.


* * *

Edward was deeply troubled as he looked at the person standing in front of him. Should he show that he knows? Would it lead to disappointment if he did?


Rather, who on earth came up with this creative prank? It didn’t seem like Maxion would have suggested it at first, but then again, it also didn’t seem like someone as serious as her to play such a prank…


“You seem disappointed that I’m a woman.”


“Not at all.”


“Try to hold the sword.”


Edward grabbed the wooden sword. Although her clothes and hairstyle were different, the woman in front of him was clearly Luize di Cloette.


“Your posture is terrible.”


“…I see.”


It seemed like this was revenge. Since he wore a mask and played with her, it was clear that Luize also wanted to embarrass him with the same prank. That’s why this person, who clearly knows nothing about swords, was doing this here. Edward thought this and was about trying to match her rhythm.


“I need to find out what and how much you’re lacking. Come on.”




Edward looked at Maxion with an embarrassed look on his face. Maxion nodded. Seeing him like that, Edward felt betrayed for the first time. Is he telling me to hit Luize now? No matter if it was a wooden sword, it shouldn’t happen.


“Why aren’t you moving?”


“…Have I done anything wrong?” Edward lowered his sword with an embarrassed face.


In response, Luize lifted her wooden sword with one hand and aimed the tip at Edward’s face. “It would be wrong to hold the sword in that position. Or are you ignoring me?”


“I don’t mean that.”


“Then go for it.”




Edward approached Luize carefully. That was when he held his sword and was about to stab her in the side. Luize easily dodged his counterattack and hit him on the back with the lower part of her sword handle.


Edward, who lost his balance instantly, almost fell forward with a dazed face but finally regained his balance. Was it luck?






He adjusted his sword. Looking at him like that, Luize continued speaking. “If you hit my sword with your sword, I’ll take off my mask.”


“…It’s going to be difficult.”


How can he move according to Luize’s wish without getting her hurt? Edward pondered this and lunged towards her again. This time, his movements were more earnest than before. Hitting her sword with his sword wasn’t difficult for him. It had to be that way. 


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