The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 156

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The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide

Crebin Subjugation (7)

—Thud! Clank!

The sword rolled on the floor.

In the annex of the Rothtaylor estate on the third floor was Rothtaylor Hall.

Amidst lavish decorations, Ed stands straight up. His physique isn’t yet sturdy, and his actions are somewhat clumsy.

Barely past the age of his baptism, he still has an air of naivete around him. However, his efforts to maintain a dignified posture befitting a member of the Rothtaylor family are commendable.

The hall, used for ceremonies and as a sparring ground for nobles, has a rich history of famous duels.

Here, the young Arwen and Ed often practiced sparring together.

Crossing swords, they exchanged moves, sweating profusely, able to shake off the stress that came with being heirs.

Their skill levels, however, were quite different.

— ‘As expected of my sister.’

Ed, watching the fallen sword, smiles sheepishly, reminiscent of the memory.

Arwen swirls her sword in the air once and sheathes it neatly.

Turning to Ed, she remarks on his improved skill. A little more practice, and his posture will probably be right.

— ‘I don’t know, it seems I have no talent for swordsmanship. And my magic leaves much to be desired… I’m riddled with worries.’

While tidying the greatsword, Arwen encourages him.

We still have plenty of time.

And we were born as descendants of the Rothtaylor family, with a blessed status.

With such fertile ground for growth, surely with the right effort, results will follow.

Arwen says with a benevolent face. Ed too picks up his sword to tidy it, smiling.

— ‘I’m grateful for your words.’

Arwen and Ed exchange warm grins.

Bathed in divine blessing, the peaceful and charming atmosphere of Rothtaylor territory.

Sunlight filters tenderly into the annex of the estate, into Rothtaylor Hall.

In the comforting warmth of broad daylight, Ed swings his sword in deep contemplation.

Arwen closes her eyes and feels the tranquil warmth of early spring for a while.

The outer wall of the Rothtaylor Hall has almost completely fallen, now less a hall and more a terrace.

Strange flesh writhes, covering the ruins, while the sky is filled with the magic circles of Mebuler and Lucy.

Sounds of battle fill the estate grounds, along with the occasional scream of someone falling to a gremlin’s blade.

And before Arwen, now with her eyes open, stands Ed Rothtaylor.

Clad in bloodied ceremonial clothes, holding a dagger in a reverse grip, surrounded by bat and lion spirits, radiating a significantly increased mana compared to before, and with a substantially more robust physique and stern eyes.

From his demeanor alone, Arwen understands.

Ed has no intention of returning.

He’s set on breaking through. Thus, Arwen prepares for battle.

—Swoosh!

Ed kicks off the ground and leaps. He quickly closes the distance on Arwen.

Arwen, who wields two greatswords in close combat, did not expect him to close in abruptly, and swiftly raises ‘Penitence’ in her left hand to guard.

But just before entering striking range… Ed slides on the ground, stopping just outside the reach of her sword.

Nonchalantly, he drops a magic bead from his pocket onto the floor. Arwen quickly reacts, aiming to distance herself, but the bead isn’t an offensive weapon.

—Whoosh!

‘Magic Engineering?!’

‘Claw Hand’.

A magic engineering tool that could temporarily draw objects towards oneself.

Limited in power, but its quick activation made it ideal for disrupting close-range combatants.

Mana pulsed from the orb, momentarily dragging ‘Penitence’ from Arwen’s grip towards Ed.

With her stance broken, Arwen is also pulled in Ed’s direction.

But to Arwen, decreasing distance is a welcome development. Her auxiliary magic activates instantly.

The greatsword ‘Dawn’s Edge’, imbued with a lightening spell, is now lifted with ease. Continuing the momentum, she brings the sword down where Ed stood.

—Boom!

Arwen’s control over the activation and deactivation of the lightening spell is remarkable—her use of mana is on a high level.

Letting the spell dissipate, the weight of the sword hits the ground, kicking up dust and obscuring vision.

But Arwen knew. Ed had already moved out of range, having detected her swing and leapt back far.

Then what was the point of narrowing the gap? As the doubt rises, between the dust she sees a dagger embedded in the ground.

The ceremonial dagger from the Rothtaylor estate, Ed had been using it since the day he was ousted from Ophelius. Engraved on it in sharp lettering was a spirit formula…

‘What is this….’

—Bang!

No time to decipher the spirit formula as a massive explosion occurs.

Quickly invoking ‘Dawn’s Edge”s defense magic, Arwen manages to protect herself…

—Boom!

A second explosion hits, a medium-grade fire spell ‘One Point Explosion’ smashes directly into Arwen’s solar plexus.

Propelled back, she plunges the greatsword into the ground to stabilize herself, blood trickling out.

Once the smoke clears, Ed stands quietly on the other side, his body smeared with blood.

“You’ve become quite… skillful…”

Supporting herself with her sword, Arwen gets up.

For a mage to close the distance on a warrior at the start of battle seems suicidal. Yet Ed nonchalantly closed in, disconcerting his opponent, then pulled back again, masterfully keeping the battle at his pace.

Leaping forward, Arwen kicked up the ‘Dawnblade’ with her foot as if it had been freed from weight, and while the blade spun several times in the air, Arwen’s next attack was already soaring towards Ed. A clean and decisive sword strike targeted Ed’s shoulder.

Just as Ed deflected the diagonally slashed sword strike using his ‘Wind Blade,’ Arwen was again whirled around by the momentum of her sword’s weight. Seizing the ‘Dawnblade’ she had just kicked into the air, she maintained the spinning inertia and plunged down her next attack.

“Agh!”

Ed again manifested his Wind Blade and managed to deflect the ‘Dawnblade,’ but the recoil sent him sprawling.

Crash!

“Once you realized defensive magic wasn’t working, you started using elemental magic for defense,” Arwen observed as she wiped her greatsword’s blade, watching Ed fall to the ground.

“You have incredible reflexes, but you can’t block physical strength itself.”

Ed gasped for air and then stood up, his eyes still intense. Arwen swallowed dry at his gaze.

Ed’s combat always relied on ‘prior information.’ If his opponent was a character from ]Sylvania’s Failed Swordsman];, he could predict their battle strategies. However, Arwen was an unknown, an outlier with no prior data to confront.

Thus, she engraved every detail of him into her memory, from subtle movements to the principles of magic and behavioral habits – assimilating all the information in an instant. In the first exchange, she used her freedom with distance to confuse Arwen and by the second, she had pinpointed a weakness in his weight-reduction magic. By the third, she recognized and countered the ‘ignore defense’ attribute of the ‘Dawnblade.’

Adapting at a speed that seemed almost transformative, Arwen realized anew she would certainly lose a drawn-out battle. Once all understanding of Arwen’s fighting style was established, he would quickly derive how to counter it perfectly.

“Ed.”

Arwen called his name softly, and Ed responded.

“Do you have something to say now?”

“Can’t we stop now, even at this late stage?”

Ed slowly righted himself, gripped his dagger again, and began to gather his magic. He didn’t want to summon a high spirit; he still had battles ahead. Summoning such beings ate up an absurd amount of magic. Though he could handle it now, it was essentially a last-resort weapon.

Nevertheless, Arwen proved more challenging than anticipated.

Greatswords have strong destructive power but are heavy and slow. To break that fundamental principle and wield the greatsword’s power as quickly as a dagger… Ed became keenly aware of the absurdity of such a fighting style.

Potentially, he must resort to summoning a high spirit.

“We probably won’t understand each other until we die,” Ed remarked without any formality left, causing Arwen to bow her head.

“Then we have no choice but to cross swords.”

At the end of the day, Ed would simply go and finish what he started with Crebin to survive, regardless of whether it was an abusive husband who couldn’t let go, a loyal son who endured through parental neglect, or parents tirelessly supporting an ungrateful child. Ed had lived for years almost detached from any family connections.

Ever since they parted ways on the terrace, all respect Ed had for the Rothtaylor family burned away. Now, all that remained was a mage, battered and bruised, on his way to vanquish Crebin.

There was no benefit to dragging this out. This had to be the last exchange.

Confident in this, Arwen raised her sword, with Ed already charging at her.

Time seemed to slow to a crawl.

The roar of Ed closing the distance and Arwen’s engraved sight of his approaching figure – both were about to deliver their final blow.

A bat suddenly flew behind Ed’s back and spat out fire before Arwen could react. The slow-floating flame aimed directly at Arwen, who ducked and applied a weight-reduction spell to the ‘Dawnblade.’ However, at that moment, the lioness Leshia snatched Arwen’s sword away.

Arwen’s weakness was the very instant she applied weight reduction—the sword became so light that even a weak physical force could knock it away.

Yet there was another sword remaining – ‘Conviction,’ which was once wielded by the original Sword Saint Luden and awarded to her by the royal family as the glorious Rothtaylor heir. As Arwen’s sword strike aimed directly at Ed’s body, he made a split-second decision.

Arwen Rothtaylor… could not thrust her sword. Her combat style relied on the sword’s weight to deliver power, and a thrust, which required the wielder to withstand the weight fully, was not an option for her. Her moves were limited to large, slashing attacks, utterly neutralized when penetrated deeply.

Realizing this, Arwen manifested the last spell in her ‘Conviction’ – ‘Acceleration Magic.’ The power to abruptly quicken her movements wasn’t in Ed’s calculations, but Arwen had kept it hidden until the end.

At the moment her accelerated sword strike aimed for Ed’s chest, he surprised her by closing his eyes, seemingly giving up. But Ed wasn’t surrendering—he was summoning a protective whirl of wind around him.

The clash—both had reserved a final move, but Ed’s hidden play proved more extensive.

‘Blessing of the Waves’ nullified all unexpected attacks, and the arising wind knocked Arwen’s sword away, leaving her defenseless.

Just as Ed gripped his dagger for a decisive thrust, Arwen, clenching her teeth, gripped the hilt of her greatsword with its weight-restored, blocking Ed’s strike. Hence, their last exchange ended at a deadlock.

It seemed as if they silently agreed to end it. As they regained balance in midair, both prepared for the ultimate strike.

In a one-to-one battle, a variable shattered all preconceptions, engulfing them both.

Once more, the wind roared.

Amid the unstable wind magic they scrambled to control, a girl landed between them. With her golden hair, akin to Arwen’s, and sharp eyes like Ed’s, she was an unexpected variable neither Arwen nor Ed had accounted for.

Inside the slowed-down time, the expression on Tanya’s face could be seen – complex with seeming sorrow, anger, and confusion. Overwhelmed by too much information, she was caught in the midst of the turmoil at Rothtaylor Manor, the damaged annex building, Arwen in her strange form, Ed covered in blood approaching the building, and their fight.

In panic and indecision, as the last exchange was about to happen, Tanya could still muster a small but certain wind magic.

Arwen and Ed were each one strike away from ruin.

Tanya’s eyes, amidst the fray, fell on Arwen—the sister who had always cared for her lovingly.

Remembering the night she had been held on the terrace.

Tanya had simply let Ed go, afraid and unsure, crying in Arwen’s embrace.

Caught between parting paths, Tanya had chosen to follow Arwen.

After Ed left the terrace, headed to Acken Island, surviving alone and unaccompanied by Tanya. She had only watched his lonely departure from a distance, hidden behind the window’s curtain.

Now Tanya Rothtaylor knew the thorny path he had traversed since then.

In a fraction of a moment too precious to lose, Tanya cast her wind magic at Arwen’s hand.

At that instant, the ‘Conviction’ in Arwen’s grasp was knocked away.

As Arwen tried to create distance, Ed’s dagger pierced her shoulder with a vicious thrust.

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