Before the tutorial begins chapter 10 part 3

Haruka called out to the spirit of the sword residing within her.

She was determined to unleash the unique power of the spirit, something beyond mere energy enhancement.

Finally, the time had come for Haruka, completely dedicated to the sword spirit Futsumitama, to showcase her true skill as a swordswoman.

Swiftly maneuvering across the ground, she created distance between herself and the enemy, preparing to manifest the spirit’s abilities.

There was no sign of the reaper chasing after her. Haruka focused all her senses inward, concentrating on summoning the sword.

Trembling with overwhelming joy, the girl visualized her sword deep within her heart.

However, the reaper did not miss the opportunity to exploit the opening in Haruka’s heart.

“Huh?”

A sudden change occurred.

Haruka’s limbs, previously light as feathers, suddenly became heavy and stiff, as if it had all been an illusion.

“What is this?” Haruka exclaimed in disbelief as her own Japanese sword slipped from her grasp, causing a loud clatter on the ground.

She tried to exert strength, but her limbs refused to move, leaving her arms and legs motionless.

Curiosity and concern drove her to inspect her arms and then turn around abruptly. To her shock, she discovered four ominous holes in her line of sight, the same black voids that materialized when the reaper appeared. Something extended from these voids, tightly binding Haruka’s limbs.

“Oh no, this is bad. I can’t muster any strength,”

The sensation of feeling her strength fade with each passing second. The bindings became more distinct, revealing their shape and color.

(…Chains?) Haruka thought, realizing that the restraints were dark red chains.

“Well, I’m done for,” she whispered,

Beads of sweat trickling down her neck.

The severity of the situation was sinking in. The chains immobilized her limbs, rendering them as unresponsive as if encased in plaster.

“This isn’t normal. These chains…”

Haruka pondered, realizing that it wasn’t merely a matter of physical strength restraining her. But understanding the nature of the bindings offered no solace or solution.

She was rendered immobile, unable to escape or defend herself.

Her agility, her greatest strength as a nimble swordswoman, had been completely neutralized.

If there was a glimmer of hope, it lay in her contracted spirit, Futsumitama. Unfortunately, in her current state, she couldn’t access its power.

In this moment, she stood as a sword user stripped of her sword, confronting a mutant disaster that surpassed human comprehension. The restraints were an insurmountable obstacle.

Step by step, the reaper advanced toward Haruka, its skeletal body clattering as it moved closer.

“Well, this is more intense than a poorly made B-movie,” Haruka joked, trying to maintain a sense of levity. However, deep down, she instinctively knew that the situation was becoming dire.

Her body was frozen, her enemy remained largely unscathed, and she was unable to employ her last resort, the trump card she had relied on.

(It’s incredible… The world is so vast.)

Even in the face of impending death, a surge of joy welled up within Haruka. Unable to move her hands or feet, and confronted with her own mortality, she found herself grateful for the existence of this seemingly unbeatable adversary, despite the unreasonable circumstances.

“I was truly naive. If only I had ventured beyond my limits, I would have encountered situations where I was utterly powerless. Ah, well, it’s…”

Haruka realized, sincerely believing that even in defeat, there was something to be cherished.

If, at this moment, she could feel this excited even when facing her own demise, then that would be enough.

(Regrets, lessons learned… There’s no end to counting them. But for now, I’ll savor this defeat.)

Haruka possessed a somewhat naive mindset, quick to accept resignation. However, there was no one present to understand the depths of her emotions or challenge her perspective.

Before her stood a grotesque creature, poised to consume a young girl—a sight that defied reason.

There stood a grotesque creature, on the verge of devouring a young girl, its appearance beyond reason.

With the sound of bones clattering, the grim reaper raised its scythe, preparing to claim the troublesome life before it.

“I’m sorry, kanata,” Haruka whispered softly, closing her eyes as she embraced her impending demise.

In that fleeting moment, as she accepted her fate, a peculiar mix of emotions surfaced within Haruka. She recognized it as an apology to her younger sister, tinged with a hint of strangeness. She chuckled wryly, uttering her usual phrase, “Oh well, what can you do?”

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And so, the short life of Aono Haruka came to an end.

The death of the young girl, beloved for her youth and talents, was mourned, regretted, and lamented by all those involved.

However, the story did not conclude there.

Her exceptional skills and abilities found an unexpected inheritor—the most unlikely entity imaginable.

The entity that took possession of them was the very creature that had taken Haruka’s life and consumed her soul—the root of all evil, the mutant known as Haruka, who now identified herself as the Grim Reaper.

With the powers of a mutant, Haruka’s skills, and even her contracted spirit, Futsumitama, this monstrous being assimilated them all and adopted the name “Kengokurasetsu,” wreaking havoc and devouring numerous adventurers.

It was a nightmare beyond anything Haruka, who had accepted her own death, could have imagined.

“[Please, let me end this.]”

Haruka pleaded silently, enduring relentless torment at the hands of her pitiless existence. But salvation arrived unexpectedly when her own younger sister defeated the Reaper.

That was Aono Haruka’s fate.

That was Aono Haruka’s destiny.

That was Aono Haruka’s ultimate conclusion.

Unable to alter it, unable to resist it, Haruka perished here, her soul and talents continuing to be exploited as a tool for killing.

A tragedy, or perhaps a precious sacrifice to make someone else shine.

Her transformation into the weapon of the Grim Reaper was an inexorable part of the historical course, a predetermined role.

And so, even today, the wheel of fate revolved, ending Haruka’s life as it was meant to.

But that encounter was not meant to be absolute.

With a roar reminiscent of a ravenous beast, the physical form of the Reaper was blasted away.

As Haruka opened her eyes in astonishment, she beheld a man standing before her, emanating a particularly menacing aura, wielding a formidable weapon.

“Well, well, you lolicon skeleton piece of shit! You seem pretty pleased with yourself for capturing an innocent girl,” the enigmatic man with the large sword sneered at the kneeling Reaper, spewing insults that one might expect from an ill-mannered grade-schooler.

His appearance was almost demonic, exuding an air of murderous intent. The term “ferocious-looking” fit him with unsettling accuracy.

She recognized that face.

In fact, Haruka vividly recalled being silently pursued by this man not long ago.

“Um, who are you?” Haruka couldn’t help but ask, the “who” question that slipped from her mouth unintentionally phrased as “what.”

In the end, it came across as impolite, but given her recent experiences of being silently pursued, caution was only natural.

“Um, well, let’s see. First of all, I want to assure you that I’m not a stalker or someone chasing after you. And based on that, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is…” The man, who had likely come to Haruka’s aid, wiped the sweat off his forehead and responded in an unexpectedly cheerful tone.

“Kyoiichiro. Shimizu Kyoiichiro. I happened to hear about your situation from the examiner, Nikaido, and hurried over. I’m a fellow examinee, just like you.”

Cracks began to appear in the seemingly unyielding wheel of fate.



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