Reborn as The Underdog First Prince Volume 1 Chapter 5 part 7

Caught up in the adrenaline and battle high fighting a prominent combatant now, Todd finally noticed amidst their serious duel that his condition was far from perfect.
 
Totila switched over to the offence once more.
 
Taking advantage of the suppleness belying his burly frame, he reaped a slicing attack caressing Todd as if swinging a pendulum.
 
Looking at each strike individually, their might was not necessarily that high originally.
 
However, outfitted with the fortified armor their potency increased.
 
Blows that should have been light pounded against Todd’s chest.
 
Occasionally a strike even knocked the breath right out of him.
 
Despite not even that much time passing since it had come into his hands, Totila had completely mastered use of the fortified armor.
 
“Gohoahhh—!”
 
Totila’s fighting style was something Todd had never witnessed before.
 
First, he took a peculiar breathing method to inhale an amount of air greater than normal into his lungs.
 
Then timing it at some point, he explosively exhaled the air all at once while unleashing a fierce barrage.
 
“Hraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaggghhh!”
 
A war cry expelling the massively inhaled air in one go.
 
Blow after blow with no gaps between that forced Todd completely onto the defenses assaulted him.
 
Totila single-mindedly pushing his fierce attacks resembled nothing if not a wild beast.
 
Eyes glinting sharply as if a ferocious carnivore hunting prey.
 
While Totila’s strikes looked full of openings at a glance, they were in fact astoundingly refined.
 
“Hah!”
 
“Graaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahh!”
 
Trying slipping in an attack revealed counters to the counter lying in wait to fly out in response.
 
Todd desperately blocked his sword to prevent Totila’s returned strikes.
 
It was not orthodox swordsmanship like Raienbach and Randolph’s.
 
Yet there was definite sword technique tempered through actual combat and experience.
 
Mixed in would be kicks between attacks, blinding with sand, even thrusts aimed at Shiranui’s joints seeking to unfairly and surely slay his opponent.
 
But even more troublesome than the sword skill itself was likely Totila’s innate beast-like intuition.
 
In the instant Todd moved to attack, the tiny gaps between technique and technique.
 
Totila unerringly targeted those.
 
For that reason Todd was also forced to unleash low-powered slashes with fewer openings rather than wide attacks, matching Totila’s style.
 
However, practical combat experience was by no means limited to just Totila’s side.
 
Through Raienbach’s grueling training that left him bathed in blood and sweat as well as battles against the mountain people, Todd had also honed various sensitivities and techniques.
 
(…I can see them. That’s exactly why it vexes me.)
 
Having grown accustomed to watching Raienbach in magical armor unleash flashing sword techniques, discovering the fleeting chances to slip in a counter during the small gaps in Totila’s assaults was not so difficult for Todd.
 
“Hraaahhh!”
 
But Todd’s unleashed counter cut empty air, with Totila twisting his body ever so slightly to dodge the attack through beast-like instinct.
 
The timing was right and his aim wasn’t off either.
 
The attack just now should have been able to properly gouge open Totila’s side if Todd was in his original condition.
 
But that was only possible exactly because it was with his original physical abilities.
 
In his current far from perfect state, he couldn’t even graze his strikes.
 
Luckily mountain people metalworking skill didn’t seem to be all that advanced, so the cutting edge of Totila’s gifted sword was nothing spectacular either.
 
Thanks to that Shiranui had gotten away with only superficial scratches so far.
 
(If Totila had been using better weapon…)
 
Thinking about something like that, Todd couldn’t help but feel a chill run down his spine.
 
Seeing the result of letting his guard down with equipment, Todd scolded himself for being unable to leave it at that.
 
(But reflecting will have to come after! Right now I need to end this battle as quickly as possible…and make sure there are no more casualties on either side!)
 
As things stood, his attacks wouldn’t connect.

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“Then the only method left was…”
 
—Todd immediately hammered out the answer not so much by thinking as by reflex from the battle so far, immediately taking the stance for a wide, powerful swing.
 
Connecting his twin swords back into the single greatsword Kusanagi, he held it high overhead.
 
Perhaps seeing that as a killing blow, Totila also largely wound up, taking a stance with swords crossed at the ready crouching deeply.
 
A quiet stillness.
 
The spectators also seemed at a loss for words, holding their breath motionlessly as they watched the two.
 
Neither moving for a time, the silence stretched on.
 
On Totila’s brow, who had continued aggressing this whole time, beads of sweat like pearls floated.
 
The instant one of them dripped to the ground, both made their move to unleash their killing strikes.
 
Their speed was practically identical.
 
But with his slightly superior responsiveness, once again it was Totila who moved first here.
 
“An opening!”
 
Totila overlapped his two blades in an x-shape to unleash a cross slash.
 
Sensing each individual swing lacked power on its own, he had boosted their potency by layering the might of both attacks as one.
 
Released from a low posture harder to see from Shiranui, the blow accurately pierced through the joint in Shiranui’s leg.
 
The blade ran through Shiranui and stuck out piercing from thigh to calf.
 
The sword blade was stained red.
 
He had successfully managed to wound Todd’s leg.
 
This was the first injury Todd had suffered over the course of subjugating these mountain people.
 
But that itself was—Todd’s aim.
 
“Hraaaahhhhh!”
 
“Wha-, no way!?”
 
If he couldn’t grasp the attacks in his current state—then his only option was to deliberately create huge openings, guiding the opponent’s strikes so they would connect even without grasping them.
 
For that purpose Todd had intentionally created massive gaps in his defense.
 
And taking his own injury in exchange, he now held an once-in-a-lifetime chance tightly in hand.
 
Todd’s swung down slash shaved across Totila’s body.
 
Blood sprayed out, and Shiranui’s chassis, already red to begin with, was further dyed crimson.
 
“Su…perb…”
 
Saying only that much, Totila collapsed to the ground.
 
“Hah… Hah… Hah… Ugh…”
 
Already fatigued before this, and now further injured continuing to fight.
 
While he may have achieved victory, Todd now had suffered damage all over.
 
Todd spent his remaining magical power to heal himself.
 
After healing his wounds, he inspected Shiranui’s condition.
 
There was a small hole opened in the leg. It likely wouldn’t obstruct motion itself, but the unrestrained mobility from before was probably impossible now.
 
As Todd straightened his back, before him lay Totila’s form amidst a pool of blood.
 
“…”
 
Seeing Todd fixedly staring at him so, Raienbach standing by close by to guard against surprise attacks frowned in caution.
 
“Your Highness, messing around is…”
 
“—Yeah, I know.”
 
For some reason Totila had a refreshed look on his face as he lay supine.
 
More so than gloom towards the dark future awaiting the mountain people, his expression seemed to convey a feeling of relief at having been freed from responsibility.
 
Seeing that, Todd—.
 


 
After that, with the loss of Totila, their sole spiritual pillar, the battle safely concluded.
 
Looking only at the result, things had proceeded precisely as Todd aimed for.
 
Totila’s forces thrown into chaos from internal strife and the ambush by the Fortified Infantry Platoon.
 
Thanks to being attacked from three sides, casualties on both sides were fairly limited without becoming particularly heavy, which could be considered a stroke of luck.
 
There was one thing that greatly surprised Todd.
 
The image of Totila from his game knowledge and the information squeezed out of his subordinates were almost completely different.
 
His subordinates had largely been enraptured by Totila, with a great many even willing to throw away their lives for his sake.
 
And while there certainly were some ruthless aspects to Totila, his treatment of noncombatants and women was exceptionally gentlemanly (only in the context of mountain people that is).
 
Barring cases of military necessity, he did not engage in pillaging or slaughter, with no signs whatsoever of killing people out of delight or pleasure.
 
To Todd, Totila had been a savage tribal king, cruel and despicable.
 
Thanks to his power the kingdom would be greatly weakened, the royal family entirely killed, concluding in the bad ending.
 
At that time, these were the words Totila threw at the executed Edward.
 
[Let the world tremble in fear! Fear me, and fear the mountain people! For I am Tribal King Totila!]
 
Fundamentally in Augustus: The Throne of Supreme, events only unfolded from the perspective of the Rynsgaya Kingdom, with no other viewpoints depicted.
 
As such he had only been portrayed as the dread king continuously warring and seeking blood.
 
That image did not align at all with the current Totila.
 
Lately something had secretly been weighing on Todd’s mind.
 
—Could it be that this world despite resembling the game was in truth completely different?


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