Reborn as The Underdog First Prince Volume 1 Chapter 5 part 6

“Strange…Did they change their way of fighting?”
 
The first thing Todd felt was a sense of discomfort.
 
The number of mountain warriors charging towards him had clearly decreased.
 
In itself that was no problem at all.
 
But he was gradually getting the feeling that something had started changing somehow.
 
“Rein, what do you think?”
 
“They have shifted to more orderly defense. It would be appropriate to assume Totila has implemented some strategy.”
 
“Yeah…so that’s it, huh.”
 
Because the assaults had become more sporadic, Raienbach was now close enough for Todd to casually ask him about it. When asked, as expected he seemed to feel the same sense of discomfort.
 
Hearing Raienbach’s words “orderly defense”, Todd grunted in understanding.
 
Certainly, at first the enemies had made way out of fear for Todd and Raienbach’s might, resulting in decreasing numbers attacking them.
 
But now rather than them running away in disorder, it felt more like the assaults had become sporadic.
 
Just why were they continuing nonstop assaults giving Todd and Raienbach not a moment’s rest?
 
“Are they trying to wear us down…?”
 
“Perhaps they think that equipment as exceptional as ours should exhaust quickly as well…”
 
That speculation was not far off the mark at all.
 
To build momentum for the battle, Todd was flashily and overtly unleashing his power.
 
Thanks to that, his estimated operating time was likely much shorter compared to before.
 
Even so, it wasn’t like he would suddenly run out of magic power right this instant.
 
Without overexerting himself and getting caught up in the opponent’s pace, he continued mowing down mountain warriors while regulating his output to conserve magical power.
 
(Whether it’s attacking the pilot through heated oil or blunt weapons…the form differs but looks like he’s considered attacking our insides like I anticipated. As expected, Totila has a good head on his shoulders.)
 
The methods Totila would likely come up with against Shiranui.
 
Whether physical or mental, it seemed Totila was also attacking in ways close to what Todd himself had considered.
 
It would probably be best to assume Totila had studied and learned quite a lot regarding Todd’s side’s methods.
 
“Let’s push things a little forcefully.”
 
“Since wearing us down is likely also part of their aim, resolving this more quickly even if it takes more effort may actually reduce losses and strain in the end.”
 
Totila’s aim was probably to wear down Todd and the others while buying time and waiting for developments.
 
If so, there was no need to foolishly go along with him.
 
They could ignore the sporadic attacks trying to subtly shift their heading, and just keep advancing towards Totila’s main camp with all-out effort.
 
A few dozen minutes had already passed since the start of battle.
 
He still had leeway, but things weren’t exactly going swimmingly either.
 
Considering contingencies, concluding things early was preferable.
 
Todd and Raienbach stopped slowing their pace to secure an open path for their rear guard like before.
 
Paying the troops behind them no heed, they simply continued advancing straight ahead.
 
Mowing down any enemies on their path, shrugging off attacks from the side whether by dodging or blocking them, they kept steadily plowing onward.
 
Perhaps noticing their intentions, the enemy’s assaults clearly gained intensity.
 
But that did not stop Todd and Raienbach.
 
Brushing aside enemies blocking their way, they advanced as if their sleeves had barely been touched.
 
And after focusing everything into their advance for a time, before long they finally arrived at the main camp—.
 


 

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“You’ve come, Todd.”
 
Waiting at the main camp Todd arrived at was Totila’s figure.
 
Still astride his horse, Totila gazed at Shiranui as if appraising it.
 
Although his equipment was not visible wrapped in hemp robes, based on his height which seemed even taller than Raienbach he was likely over two meters.
 
“…You are Totila, yes?”
 
“—!? My God, you’re just a child whose fuzz has yet to fully sprout!”
 
It seems he had noticed Todd’s young age upon hearing his voice.
 
While the helmet and face guard muffled his voice making it rather low so nobody else had realized it yet, as expected Totila’s perceptiveness was on another level.
 
“Todd, there are many things I wish to say and ask you. But now that we have come all this way, exchanging mere words seems somewhat boorish. What it is I wish to say…with your wisdom, you understand, no?”
 
“Very well. Then Totila, allow me to challenge you a personal duel.”
 
“Fine then—Listen! You lot, absolutely do not interfere!”
 
Here Todd witnessed firsthand Totila’s powerful charisma.
 
With just Totila’s shout, a surge of people arose in an instant.
 
The surroundings were opened up as if carved out in a perfect circle, creating a space for Todd and Totila’s battle.
 
(The space is quite narrow, there’d be no way to have a cavalry battle here…Oh, I see.)
 
His questioning soon turned to comprehension.
 
The reason Totila said to fight him became immediately obvious to Todd.
 
And as if in response to Todd grasping his meaning, Totila dismounted and dramatically threw off the robe covering him.
 
The fluttering robe fell to the ground.
 
And when it softly touched down, what was revealed there was Totila’s figure dressed neck to toe in a black bodysuit.
 
///
 
*** scene transition
 
scene transition
 
 


 
///
 
There was no mistaking it had likely been stolen away in the confusion.
 
Sure enough as he had anticipated, Totila himself had put it on and powered up.
 
As Totila struck a pose, thunderous cheers nearing the point of rupture erupted from the surroundings.
 
Thinking that the away advantage here was no joke, a voice calling Todd’s name could be heard from nearby.
 
While he was surrounded entirely by enemies, Raienbach alone had his eyes on Todd.
 
Neither raising his voice nor anything despite attacks potentially coming from anywhere any moment, he stood with arms crossed nonchalantly gazing towards Todd.
 
The slight unease Todd had felt before vanished in an instant with just seeing Raienbach there, his mentor and overseer.
 
Now it felt like the tension left his shoulders, and he would likely be able to exhibit his true ability.
 
“Now then herbivore, show me your strength!”
 
“—Acknowledged!”
 
The one-on-one battle began.
 
The first to move was Totila.
 
Totila took a forward-leaning stance and charged ahead.
 
After constantly battling mountain people up until now, his speed appeared extremely fast to Todd.
 
(No, Rai was way faster.)
 
Recalling his repeated mock battles with Raienbach while calmly splitting Kusanagi into the twin shortswords Murakumo and Oniwaka, Todd judged the situation.
 
While lower in output, the fortified armor’s advantage was its superior mobility over Shiranui.
 
To avoid being pushed entirely onto the defensive from petty tricks and the like, he also needed to increase the number of attacks on his end.
 
“Hraaaa!”
 
What Totila held in his hands was a machete noticeably shorter than normal ones.
 
Grasped in both hands, its length was longer than a shortsword yet shorter than a longsword.
 
This was Todd’s first time facing someone dual-wielding.
 
For now Todd had the advantage in reach and power.
 
But just as Todd thought to attack from outside his opponent’s range, Totila’s speed rose even further.
 
“Crap–!?”
 
Preoccupied with considering countermeasures against the unfamiliar dual-wielded weapons, Todd had neglected thinking regarding Totila’s physical abilities.
 
Moving even faster than before now exceeding even Randolph and his Praetorian Guard, Totila charged ahead.
 
The ground where his feet tread deeply dented, and soil sprayed back with each step forward.
 
Totila’s right-side sword bore down.
 
Todd blocked the slashing attack that came as if hooking him using the Oniwaka in his right hand.
 
Todd had the advantage in strength.
 
After blocking Totila’s swing, he further extended his right hand to go on the offensive without pause.
 
But his sword cut empty air. Totila had already retreated and completed his evasion outside sword range.
 
With a composed sigh to reset their positions, Todd exhaled, “Fuu.”
 
At that time, he noticed his breathing was heavier than he expected.
 
(…Might’ve gone a bit overboard rampaging.)
 
The consecutive battles up until now with Totila had steadily sapped Todd’s stamina.
 
While riding Shiranui he possessed enough power to fight Raienbach to a standstill, his body was still only that of a twelve year old child’s.
 
He had gotten the court head magician to teach him enhancement magic to strengthen his body, and could withstand Raienbach’s ruthless drills, but his body was still that of a young child not even finished with puberty.
 
The long forced marches through an environment completely unfamiliar to him.
 
Battle after battle to bring the tribes under his rule.
 
And pressure from the unprecedented sensation of holding the lives of all those who had come with him in his own two hands.
 
All of those had silently taxed Todd.


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