「Don’t just swing with the strength of your arms. Tighten your core and swing it with your body.」
At a small corner of the training grounds, Rei was earnestly undergoing training from Hilde.
While facing towards the direction of the corner, Rinna was paying close attention to the clock.
「Oiii! Rei! It’s about noon. You should go to the forest soon!」
「Eh, it’s already that late?」
Rei, whose movements stopped to the sounds of Rinna’s voice, wiped her sweat off with the towel sitting on her shoulder and faced Hilde.
「Hilde I need to head off soon. Thank you very much for looking after me.」
「The pleasure was mine. Thanks for the experience. Come over again whenever you have the time.」
Rei bid farewell with a nod and ran off towards Rinna.
「Sorry for the wait, let’s go」
「Mm. Hilde, thanks very much.」
With a short greeting, Rinna went off with Rei.
While sending the two off, Hilde quietly whispered;
「A human summon and the genius summoner’s sister huh, a truly interesting pair.」
The great Baliel forest is a gigantic sea of trees to the west of the capital.
In it are scarce traces of human inhabitation and many unexplored roads, one would be unable to discern how many summoned beasts lurk inside.
Now, the two step into the entrance of its entrance.
There aren’t any beasts here as well, making it the perfect field for beginners.
Though, if one were to tread in without any thought, there is no guarantee of one’s life.
「Rin-chan, how do the forest mushrooms look like?」
「They’re usually white mushrooms around 8cm. They grow from the decomposed leaves which had fallen to the ground.」
Brushing aside the mountain of fallen leaves, the small and round mushrooms peeks their head out.
「Found them. If we gather 20 of these we’re done.」
Putting her hands into the fallen leaves, while being careful not to damage them, they were transported into the basket.
「Where are they, where are they…」
Rei copies Rinna and digs through the fallen leaves.
And right after, the white mushrooms are found.
「Found them! Looks like they’re easier to find than I expected.」
The two do well in gathering the mushrooms.
At that time, what sounded like the screams of a beast entered Rei’s ears.
「Hey, did you just hear something?」
「Nope, could it be your imagination? There should only be small creatures living around here.」
The two now clearly heard the growls of a big creature.
Something big was crushing the fallen leaves and was heading closer towards the two.
「Rin-chan, get down.」
Rei kept her focus on the direction where the sound came from, while protecting the back of Rinna.
Before long, 「It」 appeared from the foliage.
「What is that thing…!」
It was about 5 meters in height, and was completely covered in black.
It had 4 limbs that were the size of logs and sharp claws extended from them.
From its body grew two heads, each with its own face.
On those faces were sharp teeth and one could see the saliva sweeping through them.
A two in one set, with 4 eyes filled with malicious intent, they set their eyes on the two.
「This is a… Orthrus!? It’s an A-class neutral summon! It shouldn’t be here! 」
It must be the workings of someone aiming for Rinna.
The beast let out a roar and lowered its stance, preparing itself for a fight.
「Rei, the sword of light! ?」
「Sorry, I tried to bring it out, but it seems like it won’t.」
Even after putting some strength into her right hand, nothing happened.
Rei gave up on the sword of light and pulled out the steel sword resting at her hips.
「I’ll definitely protect Rin-chan.」
After throwing a quick glance at Rinna, Rei settled her gaze towards the beast.
In the forest of fallen leaves, a girl and a beast have confronted each other.
The two slowly analyzed and anticipated their opponent’s move.
The one to take the first move was Rei.
While stirring up the fallen leaves, Rei ran ahead.
Using her speed to close the gap in an instant, followed by a single blow to finish it, was supposed to be her plan.
However, the beast’s speed was much too fast for that.
The beast stepped to the side of the charging Rei in an instant.
Rei used her sword to block the body blow that came from the beast.
However, that attack was a near lethal one, and Rei was flung backwards.
She was thrust into a tree on her back, and let out a anguished cry.
She slid downwards and crumbled at its roots.
Rinna was suddenly hit by how powerless she was.
She had relied on Rei to protect her and was completely unable to do anything by herself.
The summons that she had on hand would immediately be defeated by the Orthrus.
She clutched her fists, shaking with bitterness.
「Not yet, not… yet…」
Using her sword to prop herself up, Rei stood up.
She looked straight ahead, affixing her gaze on the enemy ahead.
The beast’s speed was unmatchable, it was impossible to one-up it with speed.
Its weakness was most probably its footing.
If she was able to create an opening and lockdown its legs, there may be a sliver of hope.
While facing the ground before her, a counter-attack surfaced in the back of her mind.
After she steadied her breathing, she once again closed the distance between them.
This time, she was cautious, careful not to be thrown off guard by any surprises.
The Orthrus reacted the same way it did before to the advancing Rei, by stepping to her side.
This time, bearing its teeth, it intended to turn her into its food.
「I see it!」
Even if you knew what was happening, your eyes would not.
As if she weaved through the gap below its giant body, she dodged its attack.
It was a rushed attack making use of the beast’s awkward angles on her.
Rei’s eyes darted across, making sure to dodge every attack after another.
And then, the Orthrus got impatient.
As compared to Rei, who was waiting for an opening, the irritated beast had let out a roar and directly attacked her.
「I’ve been waiting for this!」
Rei thrust her sword into the pile of leaves, and with all her might swung it upwards.
It was the moment where the fluttering leaves covered the beast’s vision.
Without thinking, it stopped. The Orthrus was frightened and Rei dealt a fierce blow to its right leg.
Using the sword horizontally and straight, just like how Hilde had taught her.
At first, its fur was the only thing hit. The armor of hairs it had probably absorbed the impact of the blow.
Next, was the thick wall of muscle. After going through those two solid layers, Rei’s sword had cut through its tendon.
The Orthrus’s anguished cries rang throughout the forest.
Surrendering itself to anger, it put its strength into its left leg and tried to stomp Rei.
「It’s still going!?」
After recovering her sword from the beast’s leg, she defended herself from its wild flailing.
Its strength was originally able to rival her’s.
However, with its right leg immobilized, it was unable to put much strength into its attacks.
At this rate, if she presses on, victory is assured. But at that moment…
A growl, followed by the sound of fallen leaves being crushed reached her ears.
Turning back and shifting her view, Rei saw that there was another Orthrus behind Rinna.
「Rin-chan! Watch out!」
Bewildered, Rei tossed aside her sword without thinking and ran towards Rinna.
As Rinna turned around, the beast was already raising its claws overhead.
Rei flew to Rinna’s side, using her body as a shield to protect Rinna.
—Rin I’ll protect you! I’ll protect you no matter what!
—Why did it come to this…! I don’t want Rei to die for me!
As the two fervently prayed, it happened.
Rei’s pendant and Rinna’s treasure both radiated dazzling lights—
In the next moment, the beast with its claws over them was attacked in a flash.
The Orthrus, which sensed danger jumped to the side.
「I won’t let you lay a finger on Rin」
In her right hand, the sword of light and in her left, the girl she wanted to protect.
Rei pointed her sword towards the two beasts and fixed her gaze on them.